This is part two of a three-part series on living a long, healthy and active life.
Part Two: Preventing Disease through Damage Control
In Part One of this series, we discussed the importance of planning and living now for the life you want to lead when you are in your 60s, 70s and 80s. We also looked at the benefits of having a mentor: someone you know of who is currently living the healthy and active way you would like to live when you are their age.
In Part Two, we take a look at the foods that directly hurt us and how we can replace those with healthier alternatives. In most cases we can’t control the ingredients used in restaurant food, so eating out less frequently makes great and healthy sense. At home we can make some easy swaps that will greatly reduce the damage of the three health culprits: sugar, fat and salt.
We know that there are several foods that cause obesity and disease—those high in sugar, fat and salt—and we are already trying to control our intake of those foods. It often feels like deprivation, the glass half empty, because those are the foods that taste so good and fulfill our natural cravings. But they are so damaging to us, not only in terms of guaranteed weight gain but more importantly, in terms of the quality of our health.
Consider the physical and emotional damage caused by these three culprits:
Sugar: Sugar contributes to weight gain, insulin resistance, obesity, cancer, diabetes, elevated cholesterol, cardiovascular disease, liver disease, arthritis, gout, elevated blood pressure, vitamin depletion, insomnia, moodiness, depression, irritability
Fat: Unhealthy fats contribute to weight gain, obesity, cancer, osteoporosis, age-related memory loss, cognitive decline, macular degeneration, multiple sclerosis, infertility and endometriosis, inactivity, depression
Salt (sodium chloride): Foods high in salt contribute to Alzheimer's disease, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, stroke, asthma, stomach cancer, hypertension, kidney stones, fluid retention/bloating, moodiness
Sea salt, Bragg Liquid Aminos (tastes like soy sauce), Mrs. Dash, salt substitutes (used moderately)
Note: Sodium chloride and sodium are two different things: our body naturally uses and requires sodium, not sodium chloride. Sodium chloride is a manmade drug (hence its addictive qualities), which is actually harmful to our systems.
In the third and final part of this series on longevity, we’ll take a look at the foods that actively fight against certain diseases and how we can integrate those into our daily lives as a way of to prevent disease. If we take direct measures to prevent disease as we age, while also eating well and staying active, the quality of our later years will allow us to do whatever we want to do—travel, exercise, visit family and friends, and most importantly, live independently while feeling good. See you next time!
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