HEALTH IS WEALTH

When I heard this girl at a restaurant say, “Let me eat unhealthily, I don’t care about health, I never eat healthily, ‘kwani’ what is health?” as she shoved a juicy burger down her throat, my stomach sank. I hope one day she’ll understand the true meaning of health is wealth. Not that the burger was bad, but what she said that she literally doesn’t care about health. She must have been 20 years I presume, how will you reach to 80 years with your eating habits sis? Have you heard of the phrase “You are what you eat?” Take care of your body.  And this goes out to everyone else who doesn’t take care of their health.

Dr. Otto Warburg, a German psychologist, a medical doctor, and a Nobel laureate, won the Nobel Peace Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1931 for his discovery about cancer. He said that no disease including cancer can exist in an alkaline environment. He suggested that cancer cells live in hypoxic, very low oxygen and acidic conditions and derive energy from sugars by fermenting them the way yeast does. The pH scales range from 1 (highly acidic) to 14 (highly alkaline) while your body’s pH usually hovers between 7.35 to 7.4. Unfortunately, most foods that people consume today are full of sugar, preservatives, and genetically modified organisms- which all contribute to acidity in the body. The most alkaline foods are vegetables, as well as some fruits, grains, nuts, and alkaline water. Helping your body neutralize some of its acidity is crucial for maintaining your overall health.

Ever felt thirsty and grabbed a cold soda instead of water to quench your thirst? Refreshing, isn’t it? Many of us drink sodas because we enjoy the taste and the sugar content is also addictive. Sodas and other soft drinks are popular among many. In fact, they are so popular that many people drink it with every meal instead of water. Why is it that you get thirsty again after taking soda? Does it really quench your thirst? Caffeine and the sugars in soda actually cause dehydration. Too many sugars in sodas lead to weight gain, and anything that promotes weight gain increases the risk of diabetes. Sodas also stress the body’s ability to process sugar, causing insulin resistance. Let me educate you a little: Insulin resistance is when cells in your muscles, body fat and liver start resisting or ignoring the signal that the hormone insulin is trying to send out- which is to grab glucose out of our bloodstream and put it in our cells. This is fat storage that results in weight gain, and obesity in the long run. Glucose, also known as blood sugar, is the body’s main source of fuel. We get glucose from grains, fruits, vegetables, dairy products and drinks that break down into carbohydrates. Consumption of too many sugars, not only sodas but also junk food, a lot of carbohydrates and foods containing processed sugars in one way or another causes type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, and insulin resistance among other conditions. If you can’t completely avoid sodas, then try taking them in moderation. Also, using natural sweeteners which are quite affordable in the stores instead of drinking 5 teaspoons of sugar with every cup of tea or coffee you take in a day will do wonders to your body. Your body will thank you for this.

“I don’t eat spices”. “I don’t like my food with spices” reason being? Some people may genuinely not like their taste, their smell, or probably their parents didn’t like spices and they adapted to the culture. But did you know that spices are very healthy extracts from plants and trees? The same plants and trees that manufacture medicines to heal your diseases when you’re sick. For example, cinnamon lowers blood sugar levels and has a powerful anti-diabetic effect. Turmeric contains curcumin, a substance with powerful anti-inflammatory effects. Ginger also has anti-inflammatory effects. Garlic improves heart health. Cumin which is a key ingredient in many Indian dishes is naturally rich in iron. Rosemary is rich in antioxidants. Just to name a few spices. So, remove the notion that spices are bad. Look for the ones you blend with and add some nutrients to your diet.

Superfoods: No single-not even a superfood- can offer all the nutrition, health benefits, and energy we need to nourish ourselves. However, there are a few foods that can be singled out for special recognition. These “superfoods” offer some very important nutrients that can power-pack your meals. Examples of some superfoods include: berries, fish, nuts, leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables, legumes, sweet potatoes, etc

Exercise, however small is good for your body. As little as 10 to 15 minutes a day of exercise over time can do wonders to your body. You can’t tell me you’re not able to spare a minimum of 10 minutes, 3 to 4 days a week to exercise?! If that is too much to ask, then try incorporating exercise into your daily routine, for example, regularly opting for stairs instead of the elevator, games that involve physical activity such as dance classes, swimming, playing football, volleyball, tennis, hiking, etc. If you find exercise a bit straining and boring, you can add music to make it more fun. Also doing exercise with a family member or friend makes it more interesting. So what does exercise do to your body? It helps you control your weight, reduces your risk of heart diseases, helps your body manage blood sugar and insulin levels, strengthens your bones and muscles, increases your chances of living longer, improves sleep, helps you have a great body shape, etc.

Health is wealth in that if your body can’t function, or function well, you’re not able to do much. Or anything at all. And most of the diseases we get are lifestyle diseases, which can be avoided. You are what you eat. The foods you eat can either build you or destroy you. Don’t you want to live long? Do you know how expensive it is to treat sicknesses which can be avoided? Have you heard of people who went bankrupt treating lifestyle diseases which could be avoided? Why do you think they sing the same song over and over of eating healthy and doing exercise? I bet it’s time we start singing along and join the choir. Eat healthily, shove those nutrients down your throat, exercise your body and say it with me, “Health is wealth”

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