Are You Living Healthier?
Avoid the health delusion.
Published: June 9, 2012
Right here, right now, as we hurtle through the 21st Century, we’re living in the midst of a delusion; the delusion of health. We might be living longer than ever before, but the tragic news is we’re not living healthier. Consider these facts:
- Two out of every five people will be diagnosed with cancer
- More than one in three people has cardiovascular disease
- One in two women over the age of 50 will have a fracture due to osteoporosis
- Almost 7 out of 10 people are overweight or obese, and almost five in ten have or will get diabetes
- Half of all adults will develop a mental illness in their lifetime
- Virtually half of Americans will have taken a prescription medication in the last month
And, it seems efforts to prevent this are futile. The more diets we follow, and low-fat and low-calorie foods we consume, the more overweight we become. The greater the amount of vitamin and antioxidants pills we take to stave off disease (Americans consume 50 billion vitamin and mineral supplements each year), the sicker we become. And, as modern medicine advances, chronic diseases are only increasing. What should have been a certain victory against ill health, has turned into a humiliating defeat.
So, we must ask: is it simply time to admit failure? Is poor health an inescapable consequence of our 21st Century civilization? Must we accept that our physical and mental health is in terminal decline, and simply rely upon pharmaceutical drugs to prop us up?
The answer is an emphatic no. It doesn’t have to be this way, and you don’t have to accept second-rate health. Similar to using water to quench a fat fire, our attempts to achieve good health are misguided. The diets, the supplements and the medicines may seem like the best route to take, but ultimately they won’t solve this problem, only exacerbate it.
The answers we need are out there. But, it is only when we step back and dissect our modern lifestyles piece-by-piece under the guidance of decades of scientific research, that we discover what we really need to foster a lifestyle to achieve optimal health and disease resistance.
It starts with the food we eat. We need to abandon our junk-fuelled diets (the Standard American Diet) and instead harness the power of plant foods and their dazzling array of naturally occurring phytonutrients. The message to eat up our fruits and vegetables is merely the beginning, with a whole world of beneficial plant compounds out there waiting for you. For example, did you know that changes as simple as switching from milk to cocoa rich chocolate, white to red wine and black to green tea, could pep up our cardiovascular health, discourage cancer and combat inflammation?
The next stage is to stop the shunning of animal foods like milk, meat and fish, instead learning how to incorporate them into our diets in just the right way for maximum health benefits. We may hear reports that milk causes breast cancer, but, if anything the opposite is true, and its benefits in preventing bowel cancer are clear. Fish is so important at all stages of life for mental well being (from an infant’s brain development in early life to preventing Alzheimer’s in old age) yet so few of us eat enough of it. With just the right balance of plant and animal foods it is possible to eat a diet that powerfully protects against virtually all of our modern day diseases.
But why stop there? What if our modern day lifestyles were also to blame? For instance, our modern-day obsession with shunning the sun has left us dangerously short of vitamin D, which recent research has now linked to an increased risk of numerous diseases such as osteoporosis, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis and multiple sclerosis (and more besides). And did you know that when it comes to physical activity, only 5% of us reach minimum recommendations for activity levels? Is it really any wonder that the obesity epidemic looms so large?
And if, bit-by-bit, we put all this indispensable advice together, what could we expect from this ‘prescription’ for exceptional health? How does keeping your arteries healthy, warding off cancer, keeping your bones strong, combating obesity and diabetes, curbing dementia, reducing inflammation, enhancing fertility, feeling happier, promoting healthy ageing, creating healthy children, and lessening the need for pharmaceutical drugs, sound? The reality is that this blueprint for health is more sophisticated and powerful than any drug ever invented, and is truly preventive medicine fit for the 21st Century. And it is available now for you, your family, and for future generations to come.
Glen Matten MSc NutrMed is a nutritional therapist with a Master's Degree in Nutritional Medicine from the University of Surrey, where he graduated with Distinction.
Aidan Goggins is a pharmacist with a Master's Degree in Nutritional Medicine. He is a firm believer in the necessity of a holistic approach to achieve true health, and that medicine alone is insufficient to stem the rising burden of chronic disease. He is a strong advocate of complementing medicine with nutrition and lifestyle changes to improve patient outcome and reduce undesirable effects.