Friday, January 30, 2009

Are you afraid of getting cancer?

At the back of my mind when I'm endeavoring to eat better, I'm thinking that I want to avoid my chances of getting cancer as much as I can. Same with providing food for my husband and family. I want to help them be strong and cancer free too. Well, last night I was reading this new magazine I just started getting (Natural Health) and saw an article about women avoiding heart disease. It said that women die of heart disease more than twice as much as they do with all forms of cancer combined! I was stunned by that statistic. I hear of men in their 40's, 50's, and older dying of heart attacks all the time, but not women. I thought cancer was the number one killer. But no, it's only 1/2 as deadly as heart disease.

The sad thing is that all of these diseases are preventable! They're not contagious. They're caused my diet and lifestyle. Crazy! Here we live in a time where we have sophisticated medical practices, yet we're dying the most from diseases that we can prevent! We don't need the medical world's help in avoiding these diseases like we do with infectious diseases. We just need to start making our bodies stronger by eating nutrient dense foods. We also need to exercise and give up the other vices (smoking, drugs, yes, even saturated fats!) that do our bodies harm.

Here are a few ideas from the Natural Health article:

Stressful emotions account for roughly 30% of all heart attacks.

The main ways women channel stress are through anger, anxiety, and depression -- each has a profound effect on the heart.

Depression causing heart disease? Sounds strange at first, but studies show that depression revs up stress hormones, which cause platelets in the blood to become stick. Over time, the blood packed with these platelets damages the blood vessels and causes the artery walls to harden and thicken.

As for anger, I thought this was a bigger problem for males (at least it was in my family growing up), but the article states that women channel their anger through sarcasm, gossip, or passive-aggressive behavior. Even though women don't show their anger outwardly the same way as men do, it's still defined as hostility. And no matter how you express it, it still puts an incredible strain on the blood vessels and damages your heart.

When you worry or become anxious, blood pressure rises, the heart beats faster, and the blood vessels dilate. Your body thinks that you're in danger and reacts accordingly. Yoga teaches ways to slow down the breathing and subsequently the heart rate. Yogic breathing can reduce those stress hormones better than just relaxing or lying down (I'll write another whole post about that. I have so much to say about yoga and have yet to say it!)

The article talks about ways to lift depression, assess your anger, and calm your anxiety (and stop worrying), but I've got to tell you that if you are eating primarily nutrient dense foods, whether it's a raw food diet (high raw or all raw) or a vegetable-based diet along the Eat to Live guidelines, you will most likely not have to work with managing these emotions. When I'm eating only whole foods, getting the nutrients that Dr. Furhman says our bodies run the way they were designed to perform, I am almost giddily happy. I chuckle at thing that would normally make me angry. I want to skip when I walk. The crazy things in life just don't ruffle my feathers. It always comes back to nutrition for me, which makes sense. If you want a car to run well, you give it the right kind of fuel.

Here are a few quotes I found in Dr. Furhman's Eat for Health book about reversing disease or preventing it by healthy eating:

"Fifty years of scientific studies indicate that most diseases seen in modern countries, as well as the leading causes of death, are the result of dietary and lifestyle choices. Scientists have determined that inadequate consumption of plant-derived nutrients results in cellular toxicity, DNA damage, and immune system dysfunction. This in turn leads to increaded susceptibility to infections, allergies, and even the development of cancer."

"Despite medical advances, 85% of Americans (85%!!!) will still die from heart disease, cancer, or diabetes. The real key to longevity is not better treatment; it is prevention. By comparison with our sickly nation, people who survive past 100 years are remarkably disease-free. They are generally physically active, independent, adn socially connected. They are not the feeble stereotypes that we often associate with getting old. This is not merely abnuot living longer; is is also about staying younger and healthier into your later years, so life can be enjoyed to its fullest. Once you grasp the possibilities, your entire way of thinking will change. You do not have to be a victim. You can experience a long, disease-free life!"

I love this because I came to healthy eating because I had the hope that I wouldn't continue on the rest of my life with the awful health problems I already had AND I didn't want to get worse. Look around and I'm sure you have many friends and relatives who are getting sicker as they age. Isn't it wonderful to know that it doesn't have to be that way? Our bodies weren't designed to age that way. Dr. Fuhrman has seen his patients reverse disease and prevent disease. He says as they get older and follow his eating guidelines, they get healthier instead of falling victim to what so many think are age-related diseases. Now that's what I call hope and change!

1 comment:

  1. Seriously, Renee, you are so awesome. I love healthy stuff and nutrition. I need to be more current with it and read more. And ps... I don't even know the younger half of your family! How IS that?