The advances in medical science have saved hundreds of thousands of lives. A great deal of pain and suffering has been eliminated by vaccines and medicines. Trauma care has saved people who even twenty years ago would not have survived. But, in spite of these great gifts to mankind, the top killers in western culture are for the most part the result of poor lifestyle choices.
The top health risks for western populations are heart related diseases, cancer, diabetes and autoimmune diseases. These diseases may have genetic components or pre-dispositions but the catalyst that creates the opportunity for disease is more often than not a sedentary lifestyle, poor diet, and stress. These three factors promote a weakened immune system and systemic inflammation which together are fertile ground for disease.
Medicine #1: Exercise
Promotes Health Body Weight
Combats disease – stroke, lowers cholesterol, metabolic disorders, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, arthritis
Boosts Happy Chemicals - improving self-esteem, reduces stress, improves mood, fun, alleviates anxiety, increases relaxation, powerful anti-depressant
Improves Production and Creativity
Healthier Brain – brain cell development, improved cognition, improved memory
Improves Muscular Strength Keeping Body Functional
Improves Bone Health
Promotes Better Sleep
Improves Eye Health – Reduces Risk of Cataracts
Helps Control Addictions
Medicine #2: Whole Foods
Whole foods are not processed or refined.
The Most Important Whole foods include vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, beans, whole grains.
Whole foods, especially plant whole foods, contain high levels of vitamins and minerals.
Whole foods have a synergy of nutrients our bodies need and are able to digest and absorb.
Whole plant foods are rich in powerful disease and cancer fighting phytochemicals.
Whole foods are higher in colon cleansing, cholesterol lowering fiber.
Whole foods are higher in heart healthy fats.
Whole foods and their synergy of nutrients fight disease.
Whole foods are self-correcting in regards to calories and promote a healthy body weight.
Processed foods are high in preservatives that may be harmful to our health.
Processed foods are high in sodium and are a factor in high blood pressure.
Processed Foods contain artery clogging fats and oils.
Processed Foods often contain allergens.
Processed Foods are often high in refined sugars.
Processed Foods are low in fiber and lead to un-healthy weight gain.
Medicine #3: A Cheerful Heart
The ancient Hebrews in the book of Proverbs promote this idea of a cheerful heart being good medicine. It is found in Proverbs 17:22. How does one develop a cheerful heart? I don’t pretend to be an expert, but it is certainly better to put one’s effort towards being cheerful than putting effort toward being sad and low. Both require energy and intention of the will and heart. I certainly do not want to over simplify or be insensitive to anyone who is hurting, suffering or dealing with depression. However, we have all seen those people who even in the midst of the most difficult of circumstances will choose to be positive. It is important that we begin to develop habits of behavior and mindset that are bent towards enthusiasm, gratitude, owning one’s mistakes, seeking forgiveness, and working toward reconciling peace.