Our wellbeing depends on making healthy choices on a regular basis. Positive habits such as getting enough water, sleep, exercise; nurturing positive relationships; managing stress, and, of course, eating unprocessed nutritious food all work together to keep our immune system strong so it can effectively resist disease.
Knowing what to eat and what to stay away from are equally important. The following list, compiled by author and researcher Ty Bollinger (thetruthaboutcancer.com), is a helpful guide.
- Genetically Modified Foods (GMOs): The rapidly growing industry of genetically modified crops are infiltrating our food supply at an alarming rate. More than 90% of our corn and soy are now genetically modified. This fairly new practice is the source of many debates. Experts agree that adequate testing was not done before GMO foods were added to the ingredient listing of thousands of products. Look for GMO-free labels whenever possible.
- Microwave Popcorn: From the chemical-lined bag to the actual contents, microwave popcorn is at the center of lung cancer debates around the world. Not only are kernels and oil likely GMO (which the manufacturer does not need to disclose), but the fumes released contain diacetyl, which is toxic to humans.
- Canned Goods: Most cans are lined with a product called bishenol-A (BPA), which has been shown to genetically alter the brain cells of rats. Many plastic goods, thermal paper, water lines, and many dental composites, also contain BPA.
- Grilled Red Meat: While grilling tastes delicious, scientists have discovered that preparing meats in this way—especially processed meats like hot dogs—releases a carcinogen called heterocyclic aromatic amines. When you grill red meat to the point of well-done, it changes the chemical and molecular structure of the meat.
- Refined Sugar: The biggest threat is high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) but even brown sugar is highly refined white sugar with some of the removed molasses added back in for flavor and color. They are the source of major insulin spkes and feed the growth of cancer cells. Since the majority of the sugar supply in the U.S. is made using genetically modified (GMO) sugar beets, a healthier option is stevia.
- Slated, Pickled and Smoked Foods: These products typically contain preservatives, such as nitrates, which are intended to prolong shelf life. The additives used in processed foods can accumulate in your body over time. Eventually, such toxins cause damage at the cellular level and lead to diseases like cancer. When smoked foods are cooked at high temperatures, the nitrates are converted to the much more dangerous nitrites.
- Soda and Carbonated Beverages: Sodas have been as the center of the health debate for two decades. Filled with high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), dyes, and a host of other chemicals, they are very bad for your health. They provide zero nutritional value and can rob your body of the nutrients you get from other foods. Adding “diet” to the label means you’re also consuming aspartame- and that is no better than rat poison.
- White Flour: When flour is refined, all nutritional value is removed and then it is bleached with chlorine gas to make it more appealing to consumers. The glycemic index for white flour is very high—meaning it spikes your insulin levels without providing nutritional fuel. Carbohydrates are converted to sugars by your body so excessive products that contain white flour can lead to increased insulin resistance.
- Farmed Fish: Commercial fish farming involves raising an incredible number of fish—such as salmon—in a crowded environment. Approximately 60% of the salmon consumed comes from a farming operation where the fish are treated with antibiotics, pesticides and other carcinogenic chemicals. They also do not contain as much omega-3 (good for heart health), as wild salmon.
- Hydrogenated Oils: Vegetable oils are chemically extracted from their source, then they are chemically treated, and then more chemicals are added to change the smell and taste. They are packed with unhealthy omega-6 fats and have been proven to alter the structure of our cell membranes.
- “Diet,” “light” or “fat-free” Foods: Any food that is listed as “diet,” “light” or “fat-free” should be avoided. In order to remove fat or natural calories, they are replaced with chemicals that are dangerous to your body. Instead of eating food that manufacturers profess is “good for you”—add organic fruits and vegetables, grass-fed meats, and organic dairy products.
- Dairy: Dr. Mercola also reports that the pasteurizing and processing of milk have turned it into something our bodies can no longer use. In fact, it can lead to allergies, digestive troubles, and skin conditions like eczema. Reduced fat and skim milk are not much better. A 2005 study published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, found that this type of milk did not promote weight loss but led to weight gain from the excess calories. Consider also, that milk from industrialized farms contain many antibiotics, pesticides and other harmful chemicals. The better option is consuming raw milk from grass-fed cows who graze on healthy green pasture. Their milk and cream contains multiple beneficial nutrients like conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), digestive enzymes, good bacteria, muscle building properties, even protection against disease-causing bacteria. To check out more, go to the Campaign for Real Milk Web site.Dr. Crewe, MD, one of the founders of the Mayo Foundation, sums up it up this way: “Modern disease is due to an increasing departure from the simple preparation of plain nutrient-rich food.”As you rethink your lifestyle choices, remember that staying away from unhealthy foods is as important as eating fresh, organic meals.Taking these small steps on a daily basis will help detoxify your body, slowly rebuild your immune system and lead to positive changes that will help you heal and thrive.(Please note: Do not use the information provided in this or other Healed, Healthy and Whole articles for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing yourself medication or other treatment. The articles in this blog/newsletter should never be used as a substitute for speaking with your physician or health care professional about a medical problem you may be experiencing.)