Thursday, July 1, 2010

Your Health and the Environment

While this article is one I have previously written, it carries important enough information to warrant a re-post. It is of particular relevance now as we will be locally hosting a presentation "Introduction to Nutrition and Food-Based Healing." Perhaps you may join us...

With over 72,000 chemicals existing in our environment, most of which have not been tested for long term effect on humans, the implications on our health can be staggering. Astounding levels of heavy metals and other toxins are dumped into the atmosphere, ultimately tainting our air, water and soil, and alarming amounts are found in our every day household products and even our food! But gracefully, there is hope.

The use of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) controlling drugs has increased over 500% since 1991. We have seen an increase of 644% of the rate of autism diagnosed in kids from 1992 to 2001. In fact, more kids were diagnosed with autism in 2008 than AIDS, diabetes and cancer combined. Heavy metal toxicity has been linked as a contributing factor to Alzheimer's, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, and more. What is causing these sharp increases in disease?

An estimated forty tons of mercury are released into the air by coal burning power plants, and industrial processes and the leaded gasoline we use to fuel our vehicles account for six hundred thousand tons of lead added into the atmosphere by the United States alone. Other highly dangerous substances such as aluminum, nickel, arsenic and cadmium surround us, as well, and in places we may not expect. We need look no further than our homes. Sources of lead include pesticide sprays, cooking utensils, solder in tin cans, cigarette smoke and paint in older homes. Mercury, in addition to power plant sources, is found in dental fillings, contaminated fish, and many cosmetics. It is also found in many of our vaccinations that are given to children. Aluminum is another big one. Aluminum is found in everything from antacids to cookware, deodorant, douches, containers, anti-diarrheal preparations, and many food additives including cake mixes, frozen dough, self-rising flour, and pickling salts.

And how about cheese? Do you like cheese? I love it, or at least I did. Processed cheeses in America include aluminum to help with creaminess and allow it to melt better! This process is totally banned in Europe, yet is legal here in the United States. McDonald's recently requested the FDA to increase the amount permissible by law to include in its cheese production.

What are the implications for such epidemic proportions? We are currently in a disease-care crisis in this country, and it is spreading throughout the world. Our ability to care for our elderly is already seeming impaired, and with chronic diseases influenced by heavy metal toxicity on the rise, this will only increase. Current estimates predict the rise in autism will surpass our ability to care for these children. I think that this alone is enough to bring the severity of the implications home. With a nation of sick children, who are indeed our future, we are left with dwindling hope for the generation that will lead society. Our financial resources will eventually run out. We currently spend hundreds of billions of dollars a year on health care costs annually, though disease care may be a more apt term. This is more than has been spent on the current war efforts to date. Our national debt, and personal debt, can only rise for so long before we reach a breaking point.

But there is hope! Our bodies have been equipped with armies to help protect us from all diseases, including those induced by heavy metal toxicity. These are within the human immune system. We indeed have a fierce army that includes cells like the Killer T-cells that drop grenades on intruding cancer cells. The Macrophage has tentacles that can “lasso” the viruses and fungi, bringing them in to be vaporized. And the Helper T-Cells identify intruding cells like cancer cells, and notify the rest of your immune system to be on the look out. It is crucial, however, that we feed these armies.

Fresh, organic, raw fruits and vegetables are rich with phytochemicals, which are like the keys to unlocking our immune system. One example, cilantro, has been successfully used to remove mercury and lead from people suffering from heavy metal poisoning. These amazing substances are found in the seeds, stems, skins and rinds of most fruits and vegetables. When coupled with vital micro nutrients, these phytochemicals, like glutathione which is required for almost all liver detoxification functions including Phase I and II enzyme processes, provide an unmatched ammunition to empower our bodies.

Keeping a healthy and strong immune system is a major component. This is not possible, however, without a well functioning elimination system, for if we are not able to expel toxins properly they can become even more harmful and be released back into our blood stream. For example, if Phase I detoxification is efficient, but Phase II is slow or inactive due to deficiencies in magnesium, glutathione, or a lack of exercise, toxins modified by Phase I enzyme process cannot be expelled and are now more threatening to the body than before, as is the case with carcinogens found in cigarette smoke. Or if glutathione levels are depleted, the liver will not be able to convert fat-soluble toxins into water-soluble toxins for excretion in the urine, and the majority will be retained in the body. Eating foods and herbs that support the digestive and elimination systems are a vital component for fighting disease.

Ultimately, a holistically healthy lifestyle to include a proactive and empowered approach, with good stress management, a positive outlook, plenty of rest, exercise, clean water and air, and good nutrition will enable us to fight off, or even reverse, just about any disease.

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