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How to live healthier, longer

By Bukky George
14 May 2015   |   1:11 am
THE World Health Organization (WHO) in 2011 published several health indicators for Nigeria, one of which is our life expectancy, which is 53 years while the global average is 70 years.

Food PyramidTHE World Health Organization (WHO) in 2011 published several health indicators for Nigeria, one of which is our life expectancy, which is 53 years while the global average is 70 years.

The quality of healthcare in Nigeria is generally rather poor. Some of our major public health problems are communicable diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis and Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV)/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) – related illnesses.

Prevalent Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs) are heart diseases (high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke and high cholesterol), diabetes, cancers and chronic respiratory diseases (chronic obstructed pulmonary disease and asthma). All age groups and all regions are affected by NCDs.

NCDs are often associated with older age groups, but evidence shows that majority of all deaths attributed to NCDs occur before the age of 60.

Smoking, physical inactivity, unhealthy diet and the excessive use of alcohol increase the risk of or cause most NCDs. These behaviors lead to four key metabolic/physiological changes that increase the risk of NCDs: raised blood pressure, overweight/obesity, hyperglycemia (high blood glucose levels) and hyperlipidemia (high levels of fat in the blood).

WHO life expectancy: Nigeria 53, Ethiopia 60, Ghana 64, USA 79, UK 80, Japan 83, France 85. An important way to reduce NCDs is to focus on lessening the risk factors associated with these diseases.

These include:

• Healthy Eating – Eat a well-balanced diet. One, which contains all the essential nutrients in the right proportion

• Drinking Plenty of Water – It is recommended that women should drink about 1.6 liters of fluid and men should drink about 2.0 liters of fluid per day. That is about eight 200ml glasses for a woman and ten 200ml glasses for a man per day

• Exercise – WHO recommends that adults aged 18 – 64 should do at least 150 minutes (30 minutes at least five times a week) of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity throughout the week. – Physical activities include leisure time physical activities such as: walking, dancing, gardening, hiking, swimming, transportation (e.g. walking or cycling), household chores, sports or planned exercise

• Alkalinity & Acidity – Acid-Base balance in the human body is very essential for optimal health. A number of foods we eat (e.g. sugar, meat & dairy products) have an acidifying effect on our blood and tissues. This acid-base imbalance can lead to various diseases. – The Ideal body pH for optimum health is 7.35 – 7.45. Use pH strips to check your acid-base balance and use chlorophyll or alkalinizing drops to main the right acid-base balance

• Supplements – It is essential to supplement the diet with high quality nutritional supplements as we do not always get all nutrients the body requires from our diet. – The minimum every individual needs are: multivitamins; H.O.P.E (High Fibre, Omega Oils, Probiotics, Enzymes); antioxidants; regular detox and cleansing; super and green foods; and condition specific supplements (usually for a minimum of three months)

• Annual/Periodic Health Checks. – These checks help you by assessing the risk of developing non-communicable diseases and giving personalized advice on how to reduce the risks.

• Know Your Numbers – Understanding normal ranges for the following assessments and knowing your numbers are critical to optimum health and vitality. These include: blood pressure; blood sugar; Body Mass Index (BMI); cholesterol including triglycerides, High Density Lipo-protein (HDL)/’good cholesterol and Low Density Lipo-protein (LDL)/’bad’ cholesterol; height and weight; and 10-year cardiovascular risk assessment

You Are What You Eat Think of your body as being composed of millions of tiny engines.Some work in unison, some independently, they are all on call 24 hours a day! In order for these engines to work properly, they require specific fuels. If the type of fuel given is the wrong blend, the engines will not perform to its maximum capacity. If the fuel is of a poor grade, the engines may sputter, hesitate and lose power.

If the engine is given no fuel at all, the engine will knock. The fuel we give our bodies engines come directly from the things we eat.

The food we eat contains nutrients, vitamins and minerals, which are vital to our needs. These nutrients are involved in all body processes, from combating infection to tissue repair to thinking.

If we do not give ourselves the correct nutrients, we can impair the body’s normal functions and cause great harm. Even if we show no sign of illness, we may not necessarily be healthy.

It simply may be that we are not exhibiting any symptoms of illness. Most of us do not have the slightest idea of how to maintain good health. When illness strikes, we rely on our doctors to cure us. What we fail to realize is that “the cure” comes from within.

We all have a wondrous immune system, and all we have to do is take proper care of it. Our modern lifestyles have taken us off track, with fast foods, polluted environment and stress.

Whole foods, Green foods, Super foods together with Supplements can help us to maintain our immune system. However, because most of us lack the knowledge of what our bodies need to function properly, we find ourselves out of balance and susceptible to all sorts of illnesses.

The real problem is that most people believe that they get all nutrients the body requires from a well-balanced diet. There are however many factors that interfere with good nutrition.

These factors are: highly processed foods high in sugar and fat which are nutritionally empty; cooking which destroys vital nutrients the body needs to function; microwaves which absolutely decimate the nutritional value of your food, destroying the very vitamins, enzymes and phytonutrients that prevent disease and support good health; over-cooking of foods grossly denature the natural and vital nutrients in the foods; the use of fertilizers, pesticides and fungicides in agriculture; improper cooking utensils also reduce the nutrient value of many foods.

This is why it is essential to supplement the diet with high quality nutritional supplements. These bridge the gap between the nutrients our bodies need and the actual nutrients we are taking in.

It all starts with the H.O.P.E. Formula which is a daily nutritional plan that combines High Fiber, Omega Oils, Probiotics and Enzymes. Each natural component plays a vital role in proper digestive function and overall health.

Digging Our Graves with Forks And Knives – Overfed Yet Malnourished Obesity is not just a cosmetic issue – excess weight leads to an earlier death, as many studies confirm. Two-thirds of those with weight problems also have hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, arthritis and other obesity-related conditions.

Overweight individuals are more likely to die from all causes of death, including heart disease and cancer. We need to be careful about bombarding ourselves with nutrient-deficient, high-calorie food, often called ‘empty-calorie’ or ‘junk food’, food that is deficient in essential nutrients and fiber. We are more than ever before eating these high-calorie foods while remaining inactive – A Dangerous Combination.

Since early childhood, we have been bombarded with incorrect nutritional dietary advice. For instance, the Traditional Food Guide Pyramid, which is used and referred to internationally, endorses a level of carbohydrates which have now been found to be too high. It also endorses a level of animal-food consumption that may cause the diseases that kill: Heart Attacks & Cancer. The Traditional Food Guide Pyramid:

What we have always been told since early childhood. Eat to Live – Food is the Cure Our diet should contain over 90 per cent of calories from unrefined plant foods such as whole grains, nuts, legumes (beans), various vegetables and fruits.

These foods are high in fiber and low in fat. To achieve the results of preventing and reversing disease, and attaining a permanent healthy body weight, we must be concerned with the nutritional quality of our diet.

Once we learn to ‘eat to live’, thinness and health will walk hand in hand, happily ever after. *Mrs Bukky George is a pharmacist, Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of HealthPlus, Nigeria’s first Integrative Pharmacy, and CasaBella, a one-stop store got beauty solutions.