What is Health?

 “For the life of the flesh is in the blood...”

In the early nineteenth century, an inspired writer from Portland, Maine wrote one of the most expressive statements about the importance of health. She wrote:

“In order to have good health, we must have good blood; for the blood is the current of life. It repairs waste and nourishes the body. When supplied with the proper food elements and when cleansed and vitalized by contact with pure air, it carries life and vigour to every part of the system. The more perfect the circulation, the better will this work be accomplished.”

This statement is even more true in the twenty first century; human beings have such complex structures, it is unimaginable that the body has many separate, yet interlinked organs and parts. Good health is not only dependent on good healthy food, there are other factors involved that if ignored, could make maintaining a healthy lifestyle unbearable or seem unaccomplishable.

Since the science of nutrition emerged, specialists in the field prove food-borne illnesses to be increasing throughout the world, and in many cases animal products have been implicated as the main culprit. According to medical scientists, in the past century, very few Americans suffered from coronary heart diseases, strokes and cancer; however in the present age, lifestyle-related illnesses account for the majority of deaths in North America.

For many years we have been led to believe that atherosclerosis-related diseases (such as coronary heart disease and strokes), cancer, diabetes, diverticulosis, arthritis, as well as other diseases, are of old age and therefore to be expected, but modern epidemiology (the study of disease differences in the world) indicates that these diseases are not degenerative, they are not necessarily the result of growing older, but most of these modern diseases are really lifestyle related. They are called diseases of “affluence” caused by too much eating and drinking, smoking, and too little exercise.

Before Africans could be exposed to the Western diet, they used to be known for their longevity of life as well as their physical strength, but since the introduction of the Western diet in most African homes, (a diet characterized by refined and fatty food, sugar, fizzy drinks, snacks, and a lack of exercise), Africans are now becoming victims of diseases which were foreign to them. This can be proven by the high rate of high blood pressure and sugar diabetes in South Africa for example.

The solution to most of our diseases today is not dependent upon specialist physicians, technological advancements or really expensive hospitals, while they (private hospitals and clinics) do offer better customer service than public hospitals and clinics, they are not a means to gaining and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Great health in the modern world ultimately depends on what we are willing to do for ourselves, it depends on how we choose to live especially how and what we eat, drink, exercise and whether or not we'll smoke.

          “Choose my instruction instead of silver, knowledge rather than choice gold”

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