Friday, January 2, 2009

Modern Healthy Lifestyle

Changing the way you eat is one of the first things you want to consider when thinking about a healthy lifestyle. You don’t have to give up the foods that you love, but you may want to change the way that you prepare them at home. If you love fast food, you will need to find ways to cut back on how many times you eat out and even what choices you make when you roll up to the window to make an order. There are some healthy choices when you must eat on the run, so think about those before you eat that burger and fries that are not always the best choices.
I know what you are thinking. If you have spent much of your life not paying attention to what you eat and what you do each day, you may have no idea or even any desire to adopt a healthy lifestyle. There are many reasons why people want to start living this way, and many times it has to do with losing weight, or having some sort of health scare. Some just worry more about the health of their body as they get older and realize they really are not immortal. This is not something that has to be as hard as you may imagine.
Smoking and drinking can get in the way of your choice to live a modern healthy lifestyle as well. Smoking should be stopped as soon as possible, and drinking should be cut down substantially. You might also want to think about some of your personal relationships. If you have friends that cause you quite a bit of stress, they can derail your plans without you realizing what they are doing. They don’t mean to do it, but their stress and negative energy can bring you down as well. Try to surround yourself with positive people, and also try to cheer those around you who are prone to being negative.
Your new healthy lifestyle should include some exercise. Many groan when they hear this, and think they have to join a gym or put a treadmill in their bedroom. The truth is that most who join a gym quit within a month, and treadmills often become just another piece of furniture. Instead, think about things you may like to do instead. Walking and even hiking are great ways to add exercise to your new healthy lifestyle. Hobbies and sports are much better additions when you want to get up and move, as they are more satisfying for both body and mind.


Modern Lifestyle Challenges

The amount of cholesterol in the blood is one of the three most important risk factors for atherosclerosis.
Research shows that the risk of death from heart disease increases when cholesterol exceeds 150mg/dl. However that is not the whole picture. Cholesterol comes in two forms: LDL (the bad kind) and HDL (the good kind). MDL actually protects us from atherosclerosis by. removing cholesterol from the arteries. An HDL level of 75mg/dl drops heart disease risk to near zero, while a level of25mg/dl or lower raises the risk very high.
An especially harmful type of cholesterol (oxidized cholesterol) is found in Parmesan cheese, lard, dry mixes that contain powdered milk or eggs, such as custard and pancake mixes, and other processed foods containing cholesterol and sugar Some of the chemicals in oxidized cholesterol are so toxic they can cause irreversible damage to arterial walls in less than 24 hours.

Another factor is the type of fat in the diet. Saturated fat (5) is more effective at raising cholesterol levels than dietary cholesterol itself is. Polyunsaturated fat (P) lowers cholesterol levels; however, it takes twice as much polyunsaturated fat to cancel the effects of a given amount of saturated fat. A P/S ratio less than 2/1 will raise cholesterol while a ratio of more than 2/1 will lower cholesterol. All meat and dairy products have a poor P/S ratio as do coconuts. Walnuts, almonds, pecans, and hickory nuts all have high P/S ratios, with black walnuts topping the list at a ratio of 10.33/1. When polyunsaturated fats are hydrogenated, such as in margarine and shortening, they raise LDL cholesterol levels. Mono-unsaturated fats tend to raise HDL (good) cholesterol. Olive oil is a notable source of this type of fat. Even though unsaturated fats have a favorable effect on cholesterol levels, they should be used in moderation.

Eight Keys to Heart Disease
There are eight keys to preventing, treating, and reversing heart disease. They are so effective that if every American followed them 90 percent of heart attacks could be prevented.

1. Reduce blood cholesterol. Levels less than 150 mg/dl will reduce the risk of heart attack by 60 to 90 percent.

2. Eat a plant-based diet. All the cholesterol we eat comes from animal products; plant foods contain no cholesterol. To remove all cholesterol from the diet all animal products must be eliminated.
3. Increase dietary fiber. It absorbs cholesterol in the digestive tract and removes it
4. Decrease blood levels of fat. Sugar, fat, and alcohol increase the amount of fat in the blood. Fat promotes plaque buildup in the arteries and stimulates the blood to clot, increasing the risk of heart disease.
5. Stop smoking. Over a period of five years this will reduce your risk of heart attack by 50 to 75 percent.
6. Start a regular aerobic exercise program. This raises MDL so effectively it can reduce the risk of heart disease by over 45 percent in those who are unfit.
7. Reach and maintain your ideal body weight. Losing weight can cut heart disease risk by 35 to 55 percent in those who are more than 20 percent over their ideal weight.
8. Reduce blood pressure. A ten-point reduction in blood pressure reduces heart disease risk 20 to 30 percent in those with high blood pressure.
Many people have experienced very good results from implementing these principles. As artery blockage reverses, angina pains have cleared up, and an active normal life has again become possible.
Note: All material taken from Nedley N. Proof Positive Ardmore. OK, Neil Nedley M .D. 1999 pp. 55-90.
Cancer is the number two killer in this country. More than 1500 people a day die from cancer--the equivalent of three jumbo jets crashing each day, every day. These are appalling statistics, especially since many cancers are preventable. Currently, one in every two men and one in every three women will be diagnosed with cancer at some time in their lives.1
The American Cancer Society defines cancer as "a group of diseases characterized by uncontrolled growth and spread of abnormal cells." In a healthy body the immune system quickly identifies and destroys cancer cells when they first occur, but the typical American lifestyle and diet predispose the body to develop cancer by introducing carcinogens to the body and handicapping the immune system.
Adopting a cancer protective lifestyle can reduce your risk by up to 90 percent.2 Here are seven suggestions for success:
1. Avoid factors that favor cancer development. Use of tobacco and alcohol play a part in about 44 percent of all cancers. Meat and dairy products, excess fat, sugar, cholesterol, and sunshine have all been linked to one or more kinds of cancer. Other cancer causing agents have been found in coffee, chocolate3, asbestos, wood dust, and a host of toxic chemicals from deodorant sprays to pesticides.
2. Eat a proper diet. A high-fiber low-protein diet featuring a wide variety of fruits and vegetables has many cancer-inhibiting components.
3. Eat regular meals with nothing between them except water. Research shows that those eating four meals a day have double the risk of colon and rectal cancer as compared to those who eat only two meals per day.
4. Exercise daily. This will enhance your immunity, improve circulation and digestion, and reduce stress. Physical inactivity increases the risk of various kinds of cancer 30 to 80 percent
5. Obtain moderate sun exposure. It enhances the immune system and decreases the risk of various kinds of cancer. Vitamin D, produced by sunlight on the skin, suppresses abnormal cell growth.
6. Maintain proper weight. Excess body weight can increase cancer risk by as much as 55 percent.
7. Learn stress control. Stress depresses the immune system and is a major risk factor in cancer development.

High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure, or hypertension, is known as "the silent killer" because there are often no symptoms. It is estimated that up to 25 percent of Americans have this condition, and about half of them don't know it.1 This is serious; hypertension is associated with stroke, congestive heart failure, heart attack, atherosclerosis, aneurysm, kidney disease, disease of the retina, blood vessel rupture, and weakened memory and mental ability.
There are two main categories of high blood pressure: secondary hypertension is caused by other diseases and subsides when these are treated; primary hypertension accounts for 90 percent of all cases of high blood pressure and is due to lifestyle factors and inherited susceptibility. It responds well to lifestyle changes. These need to be made under a doctor's supervision if a person is taking a blood pressure lowering drug.
The following are some methods to lower blood pressure:
1. Lose weight. Obesity is one of the most important contributors to high blood pressure. Sixty to seventy percent of hypertension is directly attributed to increased body fat.
2. Utilize a low-salt diet. The body must raise the blood pressure to enable the kidneys to cope with a high salt intake. Don't assume that just because you have taken the salt shaker off the table you are on a low salt diet. Eighty percent of our salt comes hidden in processed foods. Read the labels; educate yourself on how much salt is in the foods you eat, and make a specific plan to reduce sodium intake to less than 2,000 mg/day.
3. Eliminate caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol. All of these substantially raise the blood pressure.
4. Learn to control stress. The stress response in the body raises the blood pressure, and unrelieved stress keeps it high. Overwork and worry are major contributors to hypertension.
5. Adopt an aerobic exercise program such as brisk walking. Exercise at least 3 days a week for 45 minutes. Exercise strengthens the heart and enables it to pump more efficiently. A regular exercise program significantly reduces blood pressure.
6. Eat oatmeal and green leafy vegetables. These have been shown to reduce blood pressure.

Habits & Addictions
Whenever the issue of a change in lifestyle comes up, whether it is losing weight, quitting a harmful habit, or trying to get enough rest or exercise, many people know what they need to do but can't seem to find either the desire or the will power to do it.
When we repeat an action over and over the brain changes and makes a "pathway" so it is easier to do that action again without thinking about it. The only way to change the habit is to form a new "pathway" that is stronger than the old one. Many people find that it takes approximately three weeks to form a new habit. Unfortunately, the old pathway never goes away so the chance of falling back into the old habit is always present.
Addictions have several common characteristics, one of which is the loss of control. Any habit that is not fully under your command is an addiction.

The primary methods for dealing with a habit or an addiction are the same:

Stop "cold turkey." If you truly want to change, you must make a clean break from your habit or addiction and abstain for life.

You can no more indulge a bad habit in "moderation" than an alcoholic can return to "moderate" drinking.

Address the root causes. If your addiction is brought on by stress you must learn to deal constructively with this foundational problem before you can expect to master your addiction.

Make no provision to fail.

Don't keep the cigarettes, liquor, chocolate, etc., around; everyone has weak moments.

Be willing to face some discomfort. Some suffering may be involved in breaking a habit or an addiction.

Be willing to endure, always keeping your goal in mind.

Persevere. If failure occurs, the tendency is to become discouraged and quit. Don't give up.

Learn from your mistake and keep going.

While these techniques have their place, some of us have a willpower so weak that all the methods in the world will not be enough.

We can no more change our behavior than we can increase our height or change the color of our skin through willpower alone. We love our habit even while we hate the effects it has on us.
What can you do when you realize that you are truly helpless and enslaved--when you have tried everything and have given up on yourself! That is just the place where God can work with you. Give Him a chance, put the whole matter in His capable hands, and relinquish yourself to His control.

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