Saturday, December 31, 2011

Some Advice to Get Healthier and Maintain Health

I'm not a doctor or nutritionist. I have no credentials to give the following medical advice. I'm just relaying some of what I've heard or read from various sources and which I implement in my own life to try and get (and stay) healthy. Consult your doctor before putting into practice anything I've written. After reading this article I recommend you do some research both online and through books to confirm (or dis-confirm) the sorts of things I've written since I'm listing them with the minimum amount of explanation/rationale and since some of the recommendations and benefits are controversial. Many of my recommendations are repeated because they have multiple benefits and the benefits themselves have a synergistic effect on overall health. That only makes sense since every part of the body (and human being) is connected to every other part. To help remember the advice, I've used each vowel in the English language to refer to some aspect of health that needs to be dealt with. If you recall, the vowels of the English language are A-E-I-O-U and sometimes Y (I'm including Y).

A = Acidification

I've read that a body that's more acidic than basic has a greater tendency to get diseases like cancer. My simplified explanation for why that is is that acidic bodies are less oxygenated. Less oxygen allows for cancer, viruses, and bacteria to get a hold on a person's body. While the presence of oxygen inhibits or at least makes it more difficult for them to get a hold on the body. The key here then is getting more oxygen into the body and into your cells by turning your body from being acidic to slightly more basic. This theory is a bit controversial, but the things required to move the body into being a bit more basic are also generally also good for you. So even if the theory is false, you'll still be doing good things for your body. Here are some things you can do.

- Take coral calcium supplements. Calcium and other minerals help turn your body chemistry away from acidic to more basic.

- Get more sunshine since exposure to it causes your body to produce more vitamin D. Vitamin D is necessary for the absorption of calcium.
- Take vitamin D3 supplements (especially, if you don't get much sunshine since you won't be producing enough vitamin D necessary for absorption of calcium and to strengthen your immune system)

- Eat more fruits and vegetables.

- Start rebounding with a trampoline since it both oxygenates the body and gets the lymphatic system flowing to fight off cancer, viruses/bacteria &c.

- Make sure your home and work areas are well ventilated and that you get fresh air from the outside inside. Use an ionic air filter indoors to help purify the air of toxins and dust.

- Deep breathing exercises increases oxygenation of the body.

- Switch from using processed table salt to sea salt (more below).

E = Elimination

While you should be getting good things into your body, you've also got to get the bad things out like waste products and pathogens.

It's been said that "All cancers begin in the colon". That's probably hyperbolic talk. However, the colon is a place where parasites can live; where the bad bacteria can multiply (due to poorly digested food); where toxins can accumulate, and due to poor diets it can often lead to "leaky gut syndrome" which can trigger various diseases and sicknesses. You don't want your immune system fighting multiple fronts. So:

- Make sure to get enough fiber in your diet. If necessary, take fiber supplementation products like Metamucil. I take a generic Walmart Metamucil look-a-like because it's cheaper and because they have a brand that doesn't have added sugar, orange flavor, or food coloring which I assume are all bad for you. Ideally you want a brand that's made from vegetable material which wasn't grown using pesticides (etc.). But finding everything you want in a product can get expensive. Fiber helps flush and sweep the digestive system of impacted fecal matter, bacteria/viruses/parasites. It also slows down the entrance of the sugar you've eaten into your blood stream (and so balancing your blood sugar levels which is important in weight loss or maintenance and in warding off or controlling diabetes).
- At least once a year take an oral colon cleanse product (like Super Cleanse by Nature's Secret). A colonic is probably best, but most people won't do that. When it comes to colonics, they should really only be done with supervision or by a professional because the stimulation of the vagus nerve (that has endings in the rectum) can cause heart beat irregularities.
- Take probiotics. They help return the proper balance of good and bad bacterial flora in the digestive system. It helps continue breaking down undigested food. Also, recent studies suggests that the digestive system is some how connected to the immune system.

- Another area where you need to get the "bad stuff out" is from your cells. Your cells are constantly repairing themselves and fighting off cancer, viruses, bacteria (etc.). To aid in the elimination of those things, make sure to rebound (along with other aerobic and exercises and weight lifting). Rebounding (as noted above) not only gets your blood circulating, but your lymphatic system flowing and so gets your white blood cells to more efficiently fight off disease and pathogens. Rebounding also helps keep the digestive system healthy too. Not to mention the brain, other organs and triggers bone production and strengthening because of the rapidly changing gravity forces from zero to three (or more) times regular G.

- Deep breathing exercises not only gets more oxygen into your system (as noted above), but it also eliminates various metabolized gases out of your system. Slow deep breathing also gets the lymphatic system flowing as well.

I = Inflammation

Systemic bodily inflammation has recently (in the last few years) been indirectly linked to various diseases like heart disease and diabetes.

- Take Omega-3 supplementation (also good for the brain, skin, cardiovascular system and is thermogenic leading to greater caloric burn). I recommend Nordic Naturals Arctic Cod Liver Oil because it's high quality and they have them in various fruit flavors that make them much easier to swallow. Brands in capsule form are usually lower quality.

- Eat more olive oil, fruits and vegetables

- Eliminate as much stress from your life because stress causes your body to produce more cortisol and that promotes inflammation and fat storage. Moreover, stress causes people to eat more food than is necessary to eliminate hunger. Without even thinking about it, people often automatically get something to eat to relieve stress (hence the term "comfort food"). But that temporary relief comes with the price of poor health.

- Don't over exercise. Obviously, this isn't a problem for most people in the Western world. But there are some exercise freaks out there. Too much exercise leads to greater inflammation. If you do exercise, make sure you get proper rest and sleep.

- Go to the dentist and get your teeth fixed. Bad oral hygiene leads to systemic inflammation. Floss daily. Purchase an electronic toothbrush. They not only clean your teeth more effectively, but it saves you time and money. Time, because you don't have to brush longer to thoroughly scrub off plaque and bacteria. Money, because if you keep your teeth healthy, you don't have to constantly spend money paying your dentist to repair your teeth.

O = Oxidation

We all know about the need to take antioxidants. Lowering oxidative stress actually makes you age slower. Well-known TV doctor, Dr. (Memet) Oz recommends supplements like:

- astaxanthin. Some take 5 MG or 10 MG. Others take 5MG twice a day (morning then night). If there's one antioxidant you're going to take, take astaxanthin.

- ubiquinol (a more bio-available form of CoQ10)

- vitamin C (bioflavonoid complex)

- vitamin E

- drink Green Tea (and/or take green tea extract like HerbaSway's green tea extract)

- Eat more berries like blueberries.

U = Unification

Christianity teaches that human beings have both a physical and spiritual aspect to their makeup. I'm setting aside the trichotomy vs. dichotomy in-house debate that theologians have been having for centuries. Though, I do clearly reject a physicalist or materialist Christian anthropology. The reason I include "unification" is because whatever affects the body also affect the spirit and mind; just as whatever affects the spirit and mind also affects the body. So, if you want to get healthier physically or spiritually, you should deal with both. Recommendations:

- Pray, read the Bible, and mediate on God's truth found in Christian books and supremely and infallibly in God's Word, the Bible. Cultivating one's spiritual and devotional life also has bodily effects. God should be worshipped regardless of whether it's beneficial to the body or not. In fact, obedience to God sometimes results in bodily injury and even death (e.g. martyrdom). Nevertheless, it just so happens that worshipping God is not only good for the spirit, but ALSO good for the body (generally speaking). We shouldn't neglect the body because it is the temple of the Holy Spirit (cf. 1 Cor. ch. 3; ch. 6; 2 Cor. ch. 6) and our vehicle in this world to fulfill God's assignment and destiny for our lives.

- Forgive others and have a forgiving attitude. Unforgiveness, bitterness, anger and personal (subjective) feelings of guilt have been shown to be connected with various diseases of the body and mind like heart disease and neuroses.

-Practice Biblical contentment and thankfulness. When one is content and thankful to God, rather than trying to keep up with the "Joneses", one will be less stressed and more happy.

- Get enough sleep. Lack of sleep affects both body and mind. Lack of sleep contributes to stress, and stress contributes to weight gain because it results in the production of cortisol. Both contribute to various sicknesses and diseases. Lack of sleep leads to mental fogginess. Adequate sleep makes you a more effective thinker, planner, and doer. There are certain chemicals and hormones that are needed and produced during sleep which are necessary to maintain bodily health. If possible sleep at the same time every night in order to set your circadian rhythm. People who get irregular sleep (e.g. people who work the graveyard shift) often have greater incidents of cancer. Sleep in a totally dark room otherwise you will not produce certain necessary hormones because your brain can sense exposure to light through your eyes even with your eyelids closed. The ideal amount of sleep is around 8 or 9 hours. But since most of us are too busy to get that amount, make sure you get at least 6 hours (not including the time needed to doze off). Lack of sleep affects work productivity worldwide and contributes to many car accidents and fatalities.

- Expose yourself to some sunshine. Your skin needs exposure to the sunshine to produce vitamin D. Other than during summer months, people who live greater than 37 degree north or south of the equator don't get enough sunshine to produce adequate amounts of vitamin D. New research shows that adequate vitamin D is essential for overall health because it affects SOOO many areas of the body. Do a google search and you'll find how vital this vitamin is. Just as it's important that your eyes aren't exposed to light while you're sleeping to produce certain hormones, so it is important that your eyes DO get (indirectly) exposed to sunlight in order to produce other necessary hormones (when you're awake). Eye exposure should be without an intervening window, or prescription eye glasses. Obviously, never look directly into the sun or any light source. It's also been shown that exposure to sunlight can prevent, minimize or help treat depression. Similarly the use of artificial sunlight during winter has been used to help treat SAD (seasonal affective disorder).
-Ill health can lead to depression, just as depression can lead to ill health (due to the inactivity and indifference that results from it). Therefore the two together can spiral out of control. As Christians we are commanded to "rejoice always, [to] pray without ceasing, [and] in everything [to] give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus [for us]." Faith, prayer, contentment, thankfulness, and praise are the Scriptures' cure for depression. The Bible also has a prescriptions for bodily health and healing (see below). Spiritual depression is a major problem in the Church as well. Often God uses spiritual depression to teach us lessons, but that doesn't mean we should welcome it since God can also use other evils (whether natural or moral ones perpetrated by other on us or by us). I recommend D. Martyn-Lloyd Jones' classic book, "Spiritual Depression". I'd also recommend the charismatic book by Merlin Carothers titled "Power in Praise." While the author isn't a Calvinist, the principles in the book actually fit better in a Calvinistic view of providence , theodicy, and sanctification. Though, the wording and phrasing could be better put.

- Spend time with family and friends. Loneliness has been linked to depression and both are linked to an early death. Community cultivates and sustains one's emotional and psychological life. Again, what's good for the mind/heart/emotions/spirit is also good for the body and vice versa. Those who are happily married live longer than those who are not married. Even people who live alone and have a pet tend to live longer than those who live alone and don't have a pet. Obviously, there are dangers in too much community. Just as loneliness can be detrimental, so can over-socializing and excessive networking. It can take away from one's devotional life and peace of mind. Sometimes the mind and spirit just needs to be quiet in God's presence. Speaking of networking and communication, texting while driving is 23 times more dangerous than driving drunk. Pass that fact along to all the teenagers you know.

Y = YOU Are What YOU Eat/Drink/Take/Expose YOURSELF To

- Avoid foods that are processed and contain pesticides, hormones, parasites, bacteria.

- Avoid saturated fats, trans fats as well as hydrogenated (or partially hydrogenated) oils and fats.

- Eat the good fats like those found in olive oil, flax seed oil, avocados, walnuts, and cold-water fish. Or take fish oil supplements which have high concentrations of Omega-3 fatty acids.

- Use sea salt instead of regular processed table salt. Sea salt contains minerals table salt is missing. Table salt is not only not as nutritious, but may even be harmful for you. The link between salt intake and high blood pressure might not be due to the levels of sodium but the quality of the salt we're normally ingesting. Processed table salt is not only striped of the minerals naturally found in salt, but is also processed using extreme heat (dried at over 1200 degrees Fahrenheit) that chemically alters its structure. It's an unnatural inorganic form of salt that your body recognizes are foreign. Also, chemicals like iodine, fluoride, and aluminum hydroxide are added to it to make the salt pourable and to preserve it so that it has an indefinite shelf life. Sea salt on the other hand is not only less bad, but actually positively good for you. The only negative thing about sea salt is that it;s a poor source of iodine which is needed for proper thyroid function. Hopefully, you get your needed iodine by eating enough seafood (and even seaweed/kelp). Here are some recommended brands of sea salt (listed in order of mineral content):
Selina Naturally Hawaiian Salt;
Celtic Sea Salt;
Selina Naturally Portuguese Sea Salt;
Himalayan Sea Salt.

- As much as possible, avoid processed sugar and food products that use HFCS (high fructose corn syrup). HFCS enters the blood stream faster than complex carbohydrates and contributes to obesity because a spike in blood sugar causes the production of insulin in the body. It's your body's response to lower the amount of excess sugar in the blood. Insulin is a hormone that promotes the accumulation of fat into fat cells. Over time, people's bodies begin to experience insulin resistance which causes the body to produce increasingly greater amounts of insulin than previously needed in order get the intended result of lowering the level of sugar in the bloodstream. However, that often causes an extreme drop in blood sugar levels, which itself triggers hunger and so people end up eating more food more frequently. The result is a cyclical yo-yo effect of 1. over-eating, 2. excessive insulin production, 3. drop in blood sugar levels, 4. then back again to #1. of over-eating (after only a few hours). This is what happens during pre-diabetes. This is why one of the keys to weight loss and maintenance is to keep your blood sugar level stable by making sure you eat small meals and don't go more than 5 hours without eating. It's often been said that we should eat more frequent but smaller meals like children whose metabolisms are much faster in comparison to adults. It's also known that sugar weakens the immune system. Therefore, if one is fighting cancer, removing sugar from the diet is absolutely essential. I won't even get into how excess sugar promotes candida. Diabetes should be avoided at all cost because it can lead to blindness, amputation, and other diseases.

- Soda pops like Coke or Pepsi have many tablespoonfuls of sugar. So STOP drinking soda/pop. Besides the sugar, soda eats away at your teeth and leeches your bones of calcium (because of the excessive phosphoric acid in soda).

- Almost all drugs deprive you of certain nutrients you body needs. See Suzy Cohen's book "Drug Muggers".

- Eat "living foods" with live enzymes like fruits and vegetables. If you have the time and money, purchase a juicer and start juicing. At the very least, juice raw organic carrots with a little bit of raw organic broccoli once a week.
- Eat high quality protein (e.g. fish like salmon etc.) rather than processed meats like hotdogs. If you have to eat processed meat products, then go with Kosher approved meats since they are leaner, probably have lesser sodium nitrite content, as well as other unwanted "ingredients" [grin] (I won't mention some of the rumors about the percentages of allowable accidental unmentionable "ingredients" in the average commercial hotdog).

- Minimize (not eliminate) the amount of red meat you eat. There are certain nutrients that are more difficult to get apart from eating red meat. But excessive red meat contributes to coronary heart disease.

- Drink green tea in place of coffee. It'll give you the caffeine fix you need, but with less gitters and with added (higher) antioxidant benefits. Find a good (preferrably organic) green tea that has the level of caffeine you want. For example, I've noticed that Impra Green Tea has a much higher caffeine content than Ten Ren Green Tea. However, too much caffeine isn't good for you either since it triggers the fight or flight response in the body and can over work the adrenal glands.

- Drink plenty of water. The purer the better. Filtered is better than tap. Certain bottled waters are better than filtered tap water. Reverse osmosis water is even better. The problem with bottled water is that the plastic leaks into the water and is bad or you. But sometimes bottled water is the best you can get. The goal is to minimize the amount of chlorine and fluoride you're drinking. Unfortunately, almost all water supplies and sources in the Western world contain pharmaceuticals because they are nearly impossible to filter out. People also flush unused drugs down the toilet. Even then, the drugs that are used is excreted into the toilet and eventually enters the water supply. Moreover, certain companies continue to dump pharmaceuticals and other chemicals into lakes and rivers.

See this link as for a random website exposing this growing problem.

- Take supplements
including a good multi-vitamin (Solgar brand supplements are a good place to start). Take things like vitamin C, ashwaganda (for stress and balancing of hormones), chromium picolinate (for fat loss), B-complex; coral calcium (I recommend Coral LLC's Coral Complex), garlic (either the food or supplement form), beta-carotene (either by juicing carrots or supplements), wheat germ &c.

- Occasional fasting is not only good for the spirit, but it's also good for your body. At the very least it gives your digestive system a rest. It also forces your body to "tune itself up" for lack of a better phrase. The internet is full articles documenting the physical benefits of regular fasting.
- Quit or minimize your smoking. There are various chemicals in most cigarettes that are carcinogenic. Cigars probably have lesser amounts of those chemicals. However one cigar can have as much nicotine as 1-3 packs of cigarettes. So, if you smoke, smoke cigars and don't inhales (as most cigar smokers don't inhale but merely "taste" the smoke).
- Quit or minimize the amount of alcohol you drink. Moderate drinking can actually be beneficial for your health. However, if you don't drink, there's no reason to start drinking.
- Monitor what you allow to enter your mind through movies, music, books, and people. For example, instead of watching the latest horror movie that everyone has been talking about, go outside and enjoy God's creation. Soak in the sunshine, the fresh air, and the beautiful surroundings that you might be missing because you're spending too much time in front your computer (or book) trapped inside uninspiring man made walls. This one could have gone under "Unification" as well as "You are what you Eat/Drink/Take/Expose Yourself To"

Finally Exercise

While I've used up all the vowels of the English alphabet, I can't leave out mentioning the importance of living a physically active life. It's a well known fact that obesity and heart disease is the #1 killer in the Western world. Even above that of cancer. I've heard on many occasions various doctors state that if they could only give one prescription for promoting health which they knew (without doubt) their patient would take, the first and greatest prescription would be that of exercise and increased physical activity. Here's a shocking quote I recently read.

"Sitting for most of the day increases the risk of heart attack by 54% according to experts at Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, La. What's scarier is that sitting is an "independent risk factor," meaning that even if you go to the gym on your lunch break and don't smoke, it doesn't make up for being a deskchair potato. Try elevating your computer and keyboard so that you can stand at your desk." - taken from Parade magazine" Sunday, June 19, 2011 edition page 14

Here's a link to a Men's Health article that talks about the same thing (click here)

- We all know the benefits of aerobic exercise for the cardiovascular system. But most people don't know the added benefits of 1. interval training and 2. cross training. Simply googling up those two training methods will show their additional benefits beyond regular monotonous exercise.
- I've already mentioned twice the benefits of rebounding (exercise that uses a mini-trampoline). Suffice it to say that NASA has stated that rebounding is "the most efficient and effective exercise yet devised by man." Even if that's not true, it's clearly one of the most efficient and effective. It's also a low to non-impact form of exercise.
42 Ways the Body Responds to Rebounding
- Weight lifting and training is not only good for bone formation (strengthening, hardening, maintenance) but also for possibly halting the onset of diabetes. Many people in the Western world (e.g. many in the United States) are already pre-diabetic. Also greater muscle mass burns greater calories and fat faster. Focus on the large muscle groups like thighs, hamstrings, buttocks, core and back.

- Speaking of backs, I want to mention the debilitating nature of back pain and loss of income due to it. Back/neck pain is a major problem for many people and it leads to greater loss of health (because one can't exercise) and loss of income because one can't work (or work productively). It also leads to a lower quality of life and an inability to enjoy and attend to one's friends and family. This is why it's so important to maintain a strong back. To do so, it also requires exercising one's stomach and core muscles because they complement and balance each other.

- Stretching is a much neglected exercise. But it is needed because a lack of flexibility can lead to injuries, and injuries can lead to other health problems if you can't exercise. Also, poor flexibility is a possible symptom of cardiovascular problems.

- If possible, switch your shoes at least once a day and use shoe insoles that make standing and walking comfortable. I recommend Dr. Scholl's Massaging Gel insoles. Doing these things are good for your posture, your feet, and your mood (because of lessened pain and greater comfort). You'll appreciate this advice if you take seriously the importance of staying off your butt and standing up in order to lower your risk of dying from a heart attack.

- Losing fat on your body is important because there are toxins and chemicals that are stored and trapped in it. In fact, losing weight quickly can actually make one sick because of the amount of toxins released into the system. That's why gradual fat loss is recommended. It also goes without saying that the more obese one is, the less likely one will exercise; and the less exercise someone has, the more likely he will be obese. Again, another case of two or more things that re-enforce each other and can spiral out of control.

General resources I recommend (I'll continue adding to this list)

Read (the books and blogs) of and watch (on TV and Youtube) the following experts. Of course, when researching their materials watch out for any New Age teachings that may conflict with Christian teachings and beliefs. Use discernment by "chewing the meat, and spitting out the bones".

More Reputable experts that I recommend
Dr. Memet Oz (i.e. the well known TV personality with his own show named, "The Dr. Oz Show")
Dr. Mark Hyman
Dr. Suzy Cohen
Dr. Mike Roizen
Dr. Mark Stengler

Less Reputable experts that I recommend
Dr. Nicholas Perricone
Dr. Joseph Mercola
Dr. Andrew Weil
Keith Nemec (I recommend his books Total Health = Wholeness: A Body, Mind, and Spirit Manual; and his Seven Basic Steps to Total Health)

Recommended books:

The Blue Zones by Dan Buettner
YOU: The Owner's Manual, Updated and Expanded by Michael F. Roizen and Mehmet C. Oz
You: Staying Young: The Owner's Manual for Extending Your Warranty by Michael F. Roizen and Mehmet C. Oz

Here's a link to a Triablogue blog where I made comments on my views on Divine Healing

When I'm done, this will be a link to a future blog on my views of Divine Healing and my recommendations (blog not yet written)

Like all my other blogs, I'll continue adding to and editing this article.

No comments:

Post a Comment