Much of what we know as health has its basis in what we eat, when we eat and how often we eat. Our diet dictates our state of heath to some extent!
Yet so few people realize this truth. In this section of the website, we have provided some information and guidance to help raise awareness of the importance of eating correctly.
Failure to do so in so many people is a major reason there is such widespread illness, especially among the adult population. Eating a sensible diet can greatly reduce the instance of illness in the long term!
Diet-Related Serious Illness
There is a lot of compelling evidence to point the finger of blame squarely at the modern diet for the increase in the number of cancer cases over the last few decades.
Environment and the quality of the atmosphere aside, what you eat and drink can definitely have an impact on your general state of health and various diets, from those designed to be healthy to certain weight loss diets comprised of a variety of ingredients can have a positive or indeed a negative effect on your physiology.
But how much of what you eat and drink can directly be accorded the blame for the onset of one or other form of cancer?
We know a lot about carcinogens and the way that they affect the body's cells. In order to maintain the readability of this article, we will refrain from delving into the complex details, but of you wish to do further more detailed reading, we include links to authoritative sources.
"Evaluation of the modes of action of carcinogens and their broad division into genotoxic and epigenetic (non-genotoxic, non-DNA reactive) carcinogens have played an increasing role in determining the approach followed and provide possibilities for more detailed risk characterisation, including provision of quantitative estimates of risk." - excerpt from this government paper: Risk assessment of carcinogens in food
That article explains much of what is known about the carcinogenic properties in many foods and food additives that we consume on a daily basis in our typical Western diet. The major points to recognize are:
- Food additives have varying levels of effect
- The level of effect of a certain dosage can differ from person to person
- Avoidance of food additives is desirable
- The move to include more fresh produce in the diet is preferable
Artificial Additives in Food
Now, while the sensible course of action is to avoid all foods that contain artificial additives such as colors, flavors, flavor enhancers (specifically MSG), preservatives, stabilizers and emulsifiers, it is also recognized that the consumption of low levels of additives is generally not considered to be harmful.
In other words, making the bulk of the daily diet consist of fresh, wholesome foods and allowing only a small percentage of processed foods such as certain snacks can be permitted without too much effect.
Unfortunately, this kind of message creates a relaxation of diligence in many people and they inadvertently consume far more products containing additives than they realize, with unfortunate results in some cases.
The real problem is that no one can be sure exactly what the safe limits are for each individual, as these limits will be slightly different from person to person. Added to this uncertainty is the additional consequence of local environmental effect, such as exposure to:
- Poor air quality or air pollution from high levels of internal combustion engine exhaust fumes
- Airborne farm pesticides, herbicides and fungicides during crop spraying periods
- Heavy metals and other contaminates in water supplies
- Poorly processed or exposed waste products
There are many other variables that can affect a person's susceptibility to cell damage or abnormality when combined with the consumption of foods or drinks containing certain additives or certain combinations of additives that may have been tested individually and passed safety requirements but have NEVER been tested together as they would appear in real life situations in food.
This means that their reaction in conjunction with one another on human cells is largely unknown.
The safest course of action with regard to the things that a person has it in their power to control, such as their diet and what they drink, is to opt for a healthy diet of fresh, wholesome foods that are prepared and cooked at home.
There is really no good substitute for a home cooked meal prepared from fresh (preferably organically grown) vegetables that have to be washed and peeled (as opposed to those that come in bags from the freezer section of the store) along with fresh, lean meats or fish or dairy products for non-vegetarians and organically produced fruits, vegetables, nuts and pulses for vegetarians/vegans as their personal diets allow.
All modern drinks such as soda, diet soda, flavored drinks and sports drinks should be avoided completely and only plain water drunk throughout the day. Alcoholic beverages are generally supposed to be healthy in small quantities and it believed that a glass of red wine per day is actually more beneficial to general health than total abstinence, although this, again, will depend on personal preference.
Caffeinated beverages such as tea and coffee are also accepted as being harmless in small quantities, with green tea proving to contain many positive health benefits along with antioxidants to help fight the free radicals that are known to cause cell damage or abnormalities.
Lastly, it should be a conscious decision to include as many foods that contain good levels of antioxidants to help maintain a low level of the free radicals that are often known to be present due to environmental effects as well as what is consumed in food and refreshments.
These foods include many green, leafy vegetables such as kale, cabbage and broccoli, red fruits such as apples, bell peppers (capsicum), berries such as cranberries, blueberries and blackcurrants (and many others) with more information available here: Identification of the 100 richest dietary sources of polyphenols: an application of the Phenol-Explorer database.
In simple terms, antioxidants help to remove free radicals from the body, thereby lowering the risk of the development of cancerous cells. This is not an exact science by any means and again, the differences between people will provide differing results from person to person depending on what they eat, how much food they eat containing antioxidants and the quality of those antioxidants in any particular portion of food as this can also vary from food to food.
The safest answer is to just make sure that as many fresh, antioxidant containing products as realistically possible is included in the daily diet, while minimizing intake of any foods containing additives or that has undergone any form of processing.
Your health depends to a large extent upon what you eat and drink, so the most sensible approach is to make sure that what you consume is as healthy as possible.