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CCH Health Review

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Seven Key Factors that Determine Health or Illness

There are several factors that contribute to an imbalance in your health:

Poor diet & nutrition
Sedentary lifestyle
Chronic stress
Destructive habits
Environmental pollution
Internal pollution
Your genetic expression

Poor Diet & Nutrition

According to government and university studies, at least 95% of all Americans have at least one nutrient deficiency in their diet. We rely heavily on convenience or manufactured foods which do not support good health. We do not eat nearly enough vegetables and fruits, and consume an extremely high amount of fat, animal products, and refined carbohydrates such as flour and sugar.

These dietary habits cause the body to become both depleted of essential nutrients for proper function, and overloaded with unwanted toxic substances. If you eat like most people, you are undoubtedly depleted and toxic.

Sedentary Lifestyle

The human body is meant to be active most of the time. Instead, the average American watches about 6 hours of television per day, has a sedentary job, and does not find time to exercise on a regular basis. The entire nation is more overweight than at any time in its history. Even children are becoming increasingly obese and out of shape.

Physical movement and exercise are necessary for the lymphatic system to operate. Cells live in a “sea” of lymph, a clear-to-white fluid through which nutrients are delivered to the cells and into which cells dump their metabolic waste. One of the functions of the lymphatic system is to be the body’s “sewer system”, drawing toxins from the cells and dumping them into the blood.

The blood system is powered by the heart. The lymphatic system is powered by body movement. Therefore, metabolic waste products cannot be completely cleared unless you are physically active.

A second important reason for exercise is perspiration. The skin is a major outlet for waste products; when you perspire, you are disposing of waste products through the skin.

A third benefit of an active lifestyle is that you retain muscle mass. Your muscle cells are where fat is burned. The more muscle cells you have and the stronger they are, the more fat they burn. This is why exercise is essential for weight control.

Chronic Stress

“Stress” occurs when your body has a “fight or flight” response to any situation. Most of the time, you are not aware of it. Stress can come from anywhere at any time. It could be a barking dog, a disagreeable boss, a car that needs repair, an unpaid bill, a relationship that isn’t working, or living alone. Anything at all. You become so accustomed to stress that you consciously tune it out – but your body doesn’t.

When stress is repeated over and over, it is called chronic stress, which seriously depletes your body of energy and vital reserves. It produces hormones which have a long-term weakening effect on the body and which accelerate the aging process and leads to chronic degenerative diseases.

So far, we’ve spoken only of mental/emotional stress. Actually, your body will have a very similar stress response to a variety of physical factors, including infection, physical trauma, and chemical pollution.

Destructive Habits

Smoking, excessive alcohol and recreational drug use devastates your health and can have lingering effects for many years after you stop these habits. In some cases, the damage is irreversible. These habits are widespread in the U.S. population.

Environmental Pollution

The most threatening form of pollution today is chemical pollution. You have heard a great deal about this already. The amount of chemical pollution today is unprecedented in human history. We dump nearly 6,000,000,000 pounds of chemicals into our environment every year. It’s no wonder that 9 out of 10 mothers on the face of the planet are nourishing their infants with breast milk laced with DDT. Nearly all of us are carrying DDT and a host of other chemicals in our body.

A large amount of scientific evidence supports the idea that these accumulated chemicals are a factor in the majority of degenerative diseases. Negative effects of environmental toxicity include decreased immune function, nervous system problems, depression, irritability, fatigue, and memory loss.

Environmental pollution does not occur "somewhere else". It is in your immediate environment -- your home, your car, your office, your neighborhood, your city. You are exposed to chemicals from the air you breathe, the water you drink, and the food you eat. In other words, you are surrounded daily by chemicals that are either toxic or have unknown health consequences.

Your own home could be a major source of environmental pollution. New carpets, cabinets, and furniture are notorious for releasing toxic chemical gases. So are paints and solvents. Any plastic product or packaging may release undesirable chemicals. Possibly you have sprayed your garden or lawn with pesticides or herbicides. Even personal care products such as deodorants, shampoo, and cosmetics may contain materials that are unhealthy. If you were to have a professional count the number of potentially unhealthy chemicals in or around your home, you would be shocked by the high number.

Chemical and other kinds of pollution are a serious threat to your health.

Internal Pollution

Internal pollution occurs as a result of processes inside your body. One example is incompletely digested food particles that leak through your gut wall into your blood. Called food antigens, they excite the immune system, resulting in food allergies. Some contributors to this health problem are weakened digestive ability, unsuspected gut infection, or hormonal imbalances.

Another example of internal pollution is pathogenic organisms such as candida albicans yeast. Candida proliferates in your GI tract anytime you take antibiotics. It produces a large variety of toxins, including alcohol. This is one reason why some people with chronic yeast infections report that they feel intoxicated. Negative effects of candida overgrowth include fatigue, gas, bloating, depression, diarrhea, constipation, brain fog, vaginal yeast infections, chronic urinary tract infections, and chronic prostatitis.

A third example of internal pollution is chronic constipation. When you are constipated, a significant amount of toxic waste matter does not leave the body. Instead, it is reabsorbed by the lower intestine and circulated back into the bloodstream. “Internal” pollution is a very important but often overlooked cause of poor health.

Your Genetic Expression

Most people believe that genes are immutable and unchangeable. Your genes are like a computer program that runs your body. If your mother had breast cancer, then you are more likely to get breast cancer too, because you have the same computer program that she had. “It’s in your genes”. While this is partly true, there is good news.

You can alter the computer code in your body to produce a different result. For example, you can provide instructions to your “tumor suppresser genes” to repair any damaged cell and prevent cancer. Or, you can provide code to instruct certain genes to not become “oncogenes” (cancer-causing genes).

Some of the instructions needed by your body’s computer come from your diet, environment and lifestyle. For example, vitamin D has a direct effect on the genes which tends to suppress breast and prostate cancer. Most of our vitamin D comes from exposure to the sun, so outdoor exercise would be a healthy habit to develop.

There are many components of your diet that can influence genes. Avoidance or removal of chemicals from the body is profoundly important method of altering the instructions to your genes. Chemical pollution is like a hacker getting into your computer and issuing instructions for your computer to delete valuable, irreplaceable files.

Are You Taking Corrective Action?

If there is a blinking red light on your dashboard, do you keep on driving? If the gas gauge is on empty, do you drive past gas stations? Of course not.

Then why do many people act this way with their own bodies? They push on with the same old habits in spite of lots of warning symptoms that trouble is brewing. Or, if they are “running on empty”, they often don’t seek help from a qualified physician or health care center. They may not know about naturopathic physicians who are trained to prevent illness and to work with people to develop a healthier lifestyle.

The best way to treat any disease is to prevent it from developing in the first place. And most diseases are preventable. But if things have gotten out of hand, vigorous corrective action must be taken to get the body back into a healthy balance. Once you have a chronic disease or disability, it will be necessary to do a great deal to reverse it, because many cells are already damaged or malfunctioning. If you allow the malfunctioning to continue, your lifespan will be shortened.

If you're considering natural approaches to better health, or if you're unsatisfied with the healthcare you've been receiving, now is the time to act.

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