The more you know: Smarter moves for better health

All of us want to feel good. That’s why some of us run every day in hopes of capturing that elusive runner’s high that brings with it so much euphoria, others turn to drugs or alcohol to erase physical or mental pain and still others search for the right supplement to provide energy and an overall feeling of well-being.

It’s something man’s been searching for virtually ever since time began.

In the days of the B.C. Era, philosophers such as Hippocrates – the father of modern medicine – took a simple approach to medicine. He believed that chronic diseases were caused by the toxins that build up in the colon, and suggested that eating well could make all the difference.

“Let food be thy medicine,” he said.

So why are we still debating this after all these years?

Most modern doctors fail to mention diet and exercise as ways to regulate health. In fact, let’s consider the case of a North Carolina leukemia patient now several years into recovery but still dealing with a compromised immune system that has left him plagued with setbacks.  He recently asked his doctors what he could do to build his immune system back up again, and was told “nothing.”

Instead of being advised as to what foods he could eat to help give his immune system the boost it needs, he was sent home with a continued cocktail of drugs including steroids, diuretics, blood thinners and an oxygen tank. He’s only in his late 50s, but his quality of life has been erased.

Whatever happened to first do no harm?

There's a bit of an irony in the idea that doctors who likely look to Hippocrates as the father of modern medicine – and the man behind the Hippocratic oath of first do no harm – fail to mention the words that are at the heart of his entire philosophy.

When Hippocrates pointed toward food as the best medicine, he was essentially laying the groundwork for health as something that could be controlled by our own actions, rather than given over to medical professionals without question.

The 1800s saw French author Anthelme Brillat-Savarin offer his twist on the concept – “Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are,” followed by German  philosopher Ludwig Andreas Feuerbach, who said “man is what he eats.”

Yes, you are what you eat

When it comes down to it, our health is in our own hands.

Most natural food gurus will point to an unhealthy diet as the root of most diseases. Contemporary news bytes essentially prove this, since even as our diets are shifting toward fats, sugars and processed foods, our cases of diabetes, Alzheimer’s and other health woes are skyrocketing.

Foods with little nutritional value often don’t provide the energy we need to turn off the remote and get off the couch, let alone power through our day. If we feed our bodies junk food – a diet of drive-through dinners packed with hidden fats and sugars alongside few nutrients – we’ll get junk back.

While we could debate the reasoning for allowing fast-food restaurants virtually everywhere given these sad statistics, let’s instead look at our own lives and how we can make a difference by taking more control.

Diet is key

So important is what we take into our bodies that learning about the relationship between health and nutrition early on can make a world of difference for the rest of our lives.

When organic food spokesperson Adelle Davis learned she had cancer, she attributed the disease to a college diet of junk food.

Her theory was that had she thought about what she ate and how it impacted her health earlier on in life, she might have been able to better control her own tragic health outcome.

While many people probably looked at her views as being somewhat ludicrous, she was likely on the right path.

Food for thought

A firm believer in the concept of “you are what you eat,” Davis – a nutritionist with degrees from the University of California at Berkeley and the University of Southern California Medical School, among others – recognized the healing properties of food, and she was a strong proponent of healthy eating. (She is best known for inventing oat-based granola as a healthy snack.)

“We are indeed much more than what we eat, but what we eat can nevertheless help us to be much more than what we are,” Davis said. “As I see it, every day you do one of two things: build health or produce disease in yourself.”

Experts attribute as many as 90 percent of the diseases we experience to the foods we do – or don’t eat.

While a diet full of fats, sugars and the chemicals of processed foods sets the stage for poor health, so is a healthy diet at the core of good health.

Another philosopher, Aristotle, looked at how the world was connected through the principles of syllogism – if A equals B and B equals C than A equals C.

When it comes to nutrition, we can look at it simply, using Aristotle’s principles. If good nutrition leads to better health and better health leads to less disease, then good nutrition leads to less disease.

Beyond the basics

When we eat good foods we flood our bodies with antioxidants that fight free radicals. Like little superheroes, antioxidants go to work turning the bad-guy free radicals into good guys again.

Before they encounter antioxidants, free radicals are like a gang of marauders, wreaking havoc as they travel through the body, damaging cells along the way. Free radicals sound like they might be terrorists, and when it comes to the body, they are.

In addition to playing a key role in aging, free radicals have been linked to inflammation, a precursor to diseases including type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

Fighting free radicals with a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is a great thing, but it may not be enough.

Perhaps more important is what we digest.

A host of experts have weighed in, determining that our soils have been depleted of many critical nutrients, so the plants we are eating no longer offer as many nutrients as we think. In fact, growers often pick produce before it’s ripe to ship it to faraway grocery store shelves. It ripens in the back of a truck, not under the sun’s rays, and the nutrients we think we’re getting are usually not at the optimum levels we need.

Not only that, but our bodies are often too loaded down with waste to effectively absorb all the nutrients those fruits and veggies do have to offer.

Like Hippocrates said, toxins in the body are the cause of a wealth of diseases. Not only do these lingering poisons leave us feeling sluggish and dragged down, they impede our body’s ability to take in the nutrients we do eat effectively.

Digestive health is the foundation, the key building block for a healthy life. And your digestive system can’t do its job if it’s blocked by toxins.

We can take in all the nutrients we want, but if our bodies can’t absorb them, it’s pointless.

First, check the foundation.

Flush waste out, take good in

Our Kiwi-Klenz helps to flush the digestive system, which helps the clearing out of toxins and creates an environment that can readily take in nutrients.

Then, our Total Balance complete nutrient system – which offers immune system boosters, key vitamins and minerals and other essentials (more than 70 potent nutrients) comes in to feed our cells, protect them from damage and generate the production of new ones.

Our Omega-3 fish oils not only help boost circulation, they also provide brain, cardiovascular and joint support among other benefits.

These big three – our Core Wellness products – work together to support optimum health.

Gillian McKeith spent three years telling British audiences about the importance of food, and how the foods we eat provide the nutrients we need for optimum cell health.

She brings her message to a population in which half of all women and two thirds of all men are overweight or obese, costing about 18 million sick days and 30,000 deaths a year.

At Xtend-Life we’ve spent the last 14 years sharing what we’ve learned – research backed by science – so that you can help resist ill health naturally, with your body in total control of its long, healthy future.

We’ve merged science and nature to uncover the secrets to better health, although the essence has been touted virtually since man began thinking about it.

Our philosophy isn’t new. But it’s something we can’t stop talking about until as many people as possible believe it.

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