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Adopting a Healthy Lifestyle Essay

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Every day the people in this nation zoom around in their busy lives. People cut corners to save time and often take the easy route in many tasks. Sometimes by cutting these corners, an impact can be made on the world around us and the people we love. Eating is just one of the many things that people forget to take care of. Food is the foundation to our bodies. Food is what keeps people going and fuels them to do what they need to do.

In 337 BC, Hippocrates stated, “Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food.” Most of the food people consume is not good for them. Poor nutrition is damaging and causes mood swings, behavioral issues, problems in growth development, cancer, sickness, disease, diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, and the list goes on. The artificial fillers, colors, dyes, excess salts and sugars in food cause the body to break down. This deterioration of the body leads to many types of ailments.

People need to stop eating fast foods, genetically modified foods, processed and refined foods. It is killing the people in this country day after day.

It is severely important to eat healthy nutritious foods. “A poorly nourished child will fail to grow properly; a poorly nourished adult will have a decreased resistance to infection and disease (The Columbia Encyclopedia, 2008).” The body needs a certain amount of vitamins and minerals to stay functioning properly on a daily basis and to keep sickness out. If people do not start eating and living healthier, sickness and chronic disease will only increase and continue to occur. 45% of Americans have at least one chronic condition and 26% of the population has two or more conditions (AACC, 2009). Poor eating habits are being passed down to children and these habits are going to be detrimental to our communities and to this nation. Eating nutritious organic fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes (beans) will prevent and diminish many health issues as well as maintain a healthy body and mind. In the past 3 decades, there has been significant increase in hyperactive behavior, ADD and ADHD in children.

A 3% increase per year has been recorded from 1997 to 2006 and a 5.5% increase from 2003 to 2007 (CDC, 2011). In America today, 5.2 million children are diagnosed with ADHD and 63% of those children are currently taking medication as a treatment (CDC, 2011). Fast foods, processed foods, candy, soda, chips and pizza are all attributing factors for hyperactive behavior. Research has linked food additives, dyes and poor nutrition with behavioral issues. The debate continues over the actual cause of hyperactivity however, a solid body of evidence points to food additives, allergic reactions to food and excess sugar in the diet.

Food additives cause adverse responses that a child’s natural body is incapable of warding off. Aggressive behavior and restlessness will occur in a child when refined carbohydrates and sugars are present (Kirschman, 2007). Good eating habits are critical for the proper growth and development of a child. Studies have proved that removing artificial additives from a child’s diet will provide a substantial improvement on one’s behavior. One study demonstrated a 70% behavioral improvement after just 5 weeks (Stevenson, 2010). People need to take more care when making choices on what to feed their kids. Children also need to be educated on the effects of a poor diet.

This will help them to become conscious adults and less likely to develop chronic diseases. Junk food filled with empty calories, sugars, salts and fats are like drugs to children. Their bodies are not developed enough to handle this sort of distortion in body activity. Food is medicine. Therefore, the body requires proper nutrition to function correctly. There will be a considerable increase in risk of chronic disease in upcoming generations if poor eating habits are not addressed starting at a young age (AACC, 2009).

The World Health Organization (WHO) has been compiling information since 1989 about the direct link between poor nutrition and chronic disease. The WHO has concluded that there is a growing epidemic of chronic illness. Evidence has shown a direct relationship between poor diet and unhealthy lifestyles. America has been a world leader in the areas of technology, medical and scientific research, and higher education for generations. However, as people spent billions of dollars and millions of man-hours solving the crises of infectious diseases around the world, a more silent and deadly crisis grew; chronic illness (Rose, 2011). Obesity is the most prevalent of all chronic diseases. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2010, overweight and obesity counted for one third of the adult population. Overweight and obesity can lead to chronic illnesses like hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, respiratory problems and some cancers. Unfortunately some aspects of appetite come from an emotional nature, often times not feeding the body but feeding the need for love and comfort (Kirschman, 2007). Other factors include hormonal malfunction, emotional tension, boredom, habit or malnutrition.

“According to a June 23, 2011 report published in the New England Journal of Medicine, participants gained weight with the intake of potato chips, potatoes, sweetened beverages, unprocessed red meats and processed meats. They lost weight with the intake of vegetables, whole grains, fruits, and nuts (Rose, Para 9, 2011).” Additives and preservatives take the place of nutrients and minerals removed from the original food sources. Even though processed food may taste good, it is lacking all the beneficial nutrients needed to nourish the body, maintain blood sugar levels, and ensure proper digestion. Our bodies store all the things that our digestive systems cannot process therefore making more fat tissue which contributes to obesity (Rose, 2011). Statistics show that people who are average weight will live longer, have more energy and feel better overall. A well-balanced, whole foods diet high in all essential nutrients and absent of offending substances will result in healthy body, healthy mind and healthy body weight (Kirschman, 2007). People need to realize just how serious the consequences are related to poor diet. Conscious living and healthy eating habits are essential to a healthy, long life free from ailments and chronic illness.

It is never too late to start making a change. The time has come for the people of this nation to take control of their lives. People need to stop making choices based on how they feel and from what they see when they wake up and step out into the world each morning. Changes in diets and lifestyles have occurred through industrialization, urbanization and economic development. These changes have impacted what people chose to eat as well as their activity levels (WHO, 2002). There has been a significant impact on the health and nutritional status of our population. The access to food has increased and diversified and this direction is not beneficial.

The more people evolve and find new technologies; the sicker, the bigger and more in debt people become. These changes in dietary and lifestyle patterns; chronic illness including obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension and stroke, and some types of cancer are becoming increasingly significant causes of disability and premature death. This places additional burdens on already overtaxed national health budgets (WHO, 2002). Expressing the importance for changing the way people consume food is tough but the consequences of poor diet outweigh any sort of excuse. People’s minds are being filled with attraction to the wrong types of food. People need to take charge of their habits and recognize the importance of adopting a healthier lifestyle. This society needs to stop overeating and consuming overloaded amounts of non-nutritious foods. Food may look and taste absolutely delicious, but that does not mean it has the same satisfying benefit to our bodies. People need to start making choices that matter over the ones that feel good in the moment.

This is needed for the well-being of every person in this nation. Food is a person’s foundation and without consuming it properly; a long life of sickness awaits. When people fuel their bodies with proper nutrients it is virtually impossible to get cancers and other chronic diseases. If a person’s body is balanced; when a person nourishes all their systems and all the functions of the body are intact, sickness is powerless (Gerson, 2012). The University of Berkeley, California (2008) writes that one of the biggest preventative measures in avoiding disease is to quit smoking, reduce your blood cholesterol, avoid hypertension, stay active, maintain a healthy weight, avoid diabetes, and balance alcohol consumption. In fewer words, eat healthy and stay active. Testing shows that vitamins A, C, E, B3 and B6 prevent the growth of cancer cells. They stimulate the body’s immune system and act as free-radical scavengers.

Free radicals are chemicals produced by the body when exposed to harmful elements such as food and drink contaminants, rancid fats or air pollution. Lipotropes, which prevent the accumulation of fat in the liver, protect the cells from the transformation to cancer cells. Free radicals damage parts of the human cell, especially DNA (a hereditary material present in nearly every cell in the human/animal body) and RNA (similar to DNA except that it is a single stranded molecule). DNA and RNA direct the actions of each cell. Once this process is disturbed by free radicals (poor nutrition), cancer and other chronic disease can develop. (Kirschman, 2007) The result of poor diet, lack of nutritious foods, and absence of activity will result in sickness, disease and chronic illness. People can prevent these things from happening by making simple changes in the way they live their lives. Avoid junk foods like candy and chips. Soda and manufactured juices that pose as being healthy, reduced in calories/sugar or low in fat can be replaced with water. A juicer is also a great investment. An assorted variety of colorful fruits and vegetables can be mixed into a juice extractor which can substitute for a snack or fill the desire for a delicious beverage.

Juice from natural juicing requires little digestion and goes directly into the body system Haynes, 2012). It is beneficial to the earth, to communities and to this nation to grow food locally; to purchase food locally. People need to include a large range of fruits, veggies, whole grains, beans and nuts in their diets. It is vital to eat these foods in their most natural and unprocessed forms. Pesticides, chemicals and hormones added in foods can alter the capabilities of the nourishment naturally presented (Kirschman, 2007). This nation needs to step out of consumerism and go back to the basics of eating. Humans are gatherers (herbivores) and meant to eat foliage. People do not have enough land, time or money to consume at the level they are devouring (Andrews, 2009). “A meat-cancer connection has been reported in over 100 epidemiological studies from numerous countries with assorted food habits. Diets can be healthy when including moderate amounts of meat from healthy sources. Yet, unlike plants, which we can’t live without, we don’t need meat to survive (Andrews, 2009).”

If people were to provide their bodies with nutrient packed fruits and vegetables, whole grains and beans, chronic illness, disease and sickness could be diminished. According to the National Center of Health Statistics, 65.2% of American adults are overweight and obese because of poor nutrition (CDC, 2010). That is just one result of this chronic issue. With eating conscious, people can eliminate the risk of developing a sickness or having different types of chronic illness. Eating crunchy peppers, carrots, apples, celery, nuts or radishes can be consumed as a snack instead of chips and candy. Water should be substituted for all sodas and commercial juices. Boil and steam fruits and vegetables instead of frying them. Eat them raw or juice them in a juicing machine. Foods that are fried, processed, genetically modified and refined tend to lose of their nutritional value thus destroying the body. Too much sugar stored in the body basically just turns into fat.

Excess fat stored in the body and the lack of energy from poor nutrition can cause people to become inactive. To avoid all of this the answer is very simple. Eating healthy is imperative to one’s health. Nutritious, mineral and vitamin packed food must be consumed to keep the body functioning properly. People need to take care in what is being served on their dinner tables. People need to be conscious and aware of what they are choosing at the grocery store. People need to watch their portions and take care in the way their foods are being cooked. Chronic illness and sickness can be prevented by eating healthy. If people take the steps and watch the way they consume food they would live longer, disease free lives. If they take care in what they are eating there would be less sickness, disease and debt in our nation.

References
American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC). (2009). July 2009 Clinical Laboratory News: Rates of Chronic Disease Expected to Rise Sharply. Clinical Laboratory News, 35(7). Retrieved from http://www.aacc.org/publications/cln/2009/july/Pages/newsbrief0709.aspx# Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC). (2011). Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Behavior (ADHD). Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/adhd/data.html/ Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC). (2010). Overweight and Obesity. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/adult.html/

Columbia University Press. (2008). The Columbia Encyclopedia. Retrieved from http://lib.kaplan.edu/login?url=/login?qurl=http://www.credoreference.com.lib.kaplan.edu/entry/columency/nutrition Gerson, C. [gersoninstitute]. (The Gerson Institute). (2012, April 24). Charlotte Gerson at the Rock Church’s Cancer Care Ministry [Video file]. Available from http://youtu.be/WtHujJeEguI

Haynes D., Haynes, V. (2012). Health Benefits of Juicing. Retrieved from http://juicerrecipesnow.com/health-benefits-of-juicing/
Kirschman, J., Nutrition Search Inc. (2007). Nutrition Almanac Sixth Addition. New York, NY: The McGraw-Hill Companies
Rose, C. (2011). Obesity in America. Down to Earth. Retrieved from http://www.downtoearth.org/health/nutrition/obesity-america
References (cont.)
Stevenson, J. (2010). Recent Research on Food Additives: Implications for CAMH. Child & Adolescent, 15(3, 130-133. Retrieved from http://web.ebscohost.com.lib.kaplan.edu/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=4a239b06-faf5-442b-90fa-f212cc52100d%40sessionmgr12&vid=7&hid=9 University of Berkeley California. (2008). Preventing Heart Disease. Retrieved from http://www.wellnessletter.com/ucberkeley/foundations/preventing-heart-disease/# World Health Organization. (2002). Diet, Nutrition and the Prevention of Chronic Disease. WHO Technical Report Series, 916, 1-160. Retrieved from

http://whqlibdoc.who.int/trs/who_trs_916.pdf

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