Other books by this author:
1. Health is a Critical Choice
2. Nutrient-Dense Food in Zambia
3. Crossing the Border
This book does not contain or intend to give medical advice, but it is meant for educational and informational purposes only. The book is not projected to replace professional medical advice, diagnosis, prognosis or treatment. Kindly consult your medical doctor for personalised medical advice and always seek out the advice of a physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions regarding a medical condition. Never neglect or defer seeking specialised medical guidance or treatment because of something you read in this book.
Simply put, Chronicity means the condition of being persistent, that is, taking a long period. It is the perpetuation of incapacities emanating from an ailment and it is envisaged that such chronic conditions have no cure and are expected to be indefinite. Chronic diseases, therefore, stay-on for a prolonged time and occur again and again. The course of the sickness may last for more than three (3) months and may include the conventionally well-known non-communicable or non-infectious diseases such as stroke, heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity.
Some diseases are quite all right communicable or infectious like HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and so on, but at the same time, they have a chronicity predisposition because they need to be managed in the long term. And so, an individual is generally considered as being with a chronic condition if she or he displays protracted sickness in an organ, e.g., lungs, liver, or heart. If a disease continues sustainably for your entire life on earth, it will be seen as a chronic disease. Once an individual has such a disease, he or she will need to handle it or treat it always. Chronic ailments also have an inclination to resurface with age.
If you have a chronic illness, you may be incapable of fulfilling at least two or more daily activities such as eating, bathing, dressing and toileting, for a period of time. In this regard, it may be assumed that you need considerable support and care due to this perceived ‘disability’ and ‘inability.’ The chronic disease may equally go through phases of developing, diminishing, and remaining the same.
The opposite of chronic disease is acute disease, which has a shorter duration. Acute illnesses happen quickly and are associated with definite indicators that need urgent or short-term care and get better as soon as they are treated. For instance, a fractured bone that could be a result of tumbling, ought to be attended to by a physician and will restore in some expected time. Every so often, an acute disease, like ordinary flu or cold, will finish on its own. Individuals with acute sicknesses get well sooner. As you can see, this is different from chronic sickness.
Despite recent medical advancements to ward-off chronic diseases with better diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis, this has, nevertheless, come at an escalating and extortionate cost, especially for most developing countries. Long-lasting diseases may indeed have key repercussions for both the concerned individual and relatives because of the need for lifestyle changes that address management and prevention of such health challenges.
Healthcare infrastructure, including those in the developed world, are under a lot of pressure with the ever-increasing scourge of chronicity of diseases. This is being associated with heightened prevalence of advancing elderly population, and compromised by persistent dangers of infectious pandemics such as coronavirus 2019. In most developing countries, issues pertaining to low levels of income and rising poverty, make this challenge get more fatal.
Even though costly and common, several chronic disorders are likewise preventable, because they are associated with food and lifestyle preferences that are within reach. For instance, consuming healthful food, exercising more and avoiding smoking, are a few reachable ways to assist someone and avoid chronic illnesses. And, despite having some of these disorders already, like cardiovascular disease, obesity, and diabetes, eating more nutrient-dense food and being physically active, would assist effectively manage the underlying sickness and further avoid any complications and extend life.
No one individual is the same as the other, when it comes to chronic disease, and it varies considerably with time. Having said that, however, certain traits are common in most individuals that have chronic disorders. These may include long-term pain and fatigue; persistent treatments by use of several medical specialists; possible disability or inability; repetitive and rigid symptoms and high chances of depression. People with chronic diseases frequently think that they are doing fine when they have no symptoms, but having no symptoms, does not necessarily mean that the chronic disease has vanished.
Worldwide, for millions of people, chronic diseases are simply facts of life and they tend to take them to be normal. But such serious ailments may trigger immense changes in life and may restrict freedom and movements. Such illnesses may also make it difficult to do certain things that are usually enjoyed, affect personal confidence, and have a feeling of pessimism for the future. It goes without saying, therefore, that individuals with chronic illnesses, every so often, feel sad and miserable. In certain instances, the physical and mental impact of the disorder itself or the side-effects of the medication so taken, may instantaneously culminate into depression.
The issue of chronicity of diseases is not as simple as it occasionally looks. With some chronic illnesses, it may be hard to take part in day-to-day life or the situation may be gradual, becoming worse with the passage of time. It is essential to recognise that some individuals with chronic disorders face concealed difficulties and may look totally healthy physically or externally, while things are not fine internally, like TOFI individuals (Thin Outside, Fat Inside). One needs to appreciate the existence of the ailment and know how to handle or manage it. It is well acknowledged now that cells do not just proliferate without control, our arteries in the heart do not just clog or clot from nowhere, blood pressure does not just rise from without, vessels do not just explode in the brain by mere probability, insulin does not just spike unknowingly, joints do not just inflame… because there is a sure cause. The continuous bombardment of the body with “wrong stuff” and absence of the “right stuff” over time, reaches a point where the body cannot take anymore. Age, germs and genetics are not necessarily to blame.
Health is indeed wealth and good health is something to develop and cherish unceasingly. It is simple to take our health for granted until we lose it. Our life’s perspective completely changes if our health is compromised. This book is written in an amazingly simple format. It touches on the chronicity of diseases which have muddled our communities, and no one seems to fully comprehend the scourge. The book blends the main underlying factors of chronicity of diseases alongside suggestible reachable and possible answers to the burden, in the wake of preventative health. The book may save your life.
HEALTHCARE AND CHRONICITY ENVIRONMENT
In the last six decades or so, the world has seen a steady transformation in the average person looking for health care. The population of patients is currently typified with advancing old age, heightened prevalence of long-lasting diseases and an elevated occurrence of many harmful microorganisms. In spite of the fact that chronic diseases can come up unexpectedly during an individual’s lifetime, the above facets are meticulously viewed as normal and interconnected, such that their incidence grows as one gets older.
The risk factors for chronic disease do vary with gender and age. Nevertheless, most of the known chronic ailments in the world today are known to be brought about due to mostly food and lifestyle. The change to western diets and lifestyles and resultant chronic disease, has been acknowledged as a major contributing factor to the increased death from chronic disorders. Consequently, these disorders could be prevented by change of behaviour, such as embarking on a diet that is healthy, avoiding sedentary life, stopping smoking and reducing alcohol intake.
Social determinants of health are significant risk factors for the chronicity of diseases. These may include education level, race, employment status and socioeconomic status. These could be key in bringing about discrepancies detected in the care of long-lasting ailments. The delayment and inaccessibility in getting appropriate healthcare may culminate into adverse consequences for people that are affected by chronic disease. Such hitches to healthcare thwart preventive care, monitoring, and timely treatment of the affected persons.
The prevention of chronic diseases entails considering the many features and root causes of such conditions. As alluded to earlier, chronicity manifests itself from the persistent disability arising from a sickness. Prolonged disability might be one way to tell the presence of chronic disorder, simply because chronicity has to do with a non-stop occurrence and that such a condition has no known cure and, therefore, would last forever. No doubt, we do live in an era of this chronicity.
The healthcare systems are characteristically pretty open about the nature of the diseases affecting individuals. When first detecting cardiovascular diseases or diabetes, for instance, most health care workers do indicate to the patient that there would be no cure for the health disorder affecting the patient and that the individual must live with the condition with possibly reliance on drugs or medication. The health personnel also mention that medication may equally not do much to cushion their condition. It is all incumbent upon an individual to do the best they can by leading a desirable lifestyle. Such changes could involve managing their stress, sleeping enough, eating well, and staying active.
This indeed is a good thing that the hospitals tend to come out clear to its patients about their enduring conditions, and that there is no drug or magical cure of chronic diseases. The healthcare is also fairly eloquent that the patient needs to self-manage as one of the cardinal ways to achieve reasonable success.
Patients, on the other hand, do think and convince themselves that there must be a magical cure for their condition, regardless, hence the reason they came to see a doctor. Individuals have a tendency to have an assumption that the magical cure would be derived from some sort of restorative surgery and the like. Consequently, most patients are ready to do anything they can and do as many surgical procedures as possible, just to find an answer to their condition, which comes at an astronomical cost. But, oftentimes, the problem is never addressed because most of such procedures are known to cushion the symptoms, not the cause.
An increasing body of evidence shows that prevention is effective in decreasing the effects of chronicity of diseases, specifically, for cases of early detection. Preventive services that include screening for disease presence or predisposition to its development, counselling, and immunisations against communicable diseases, are among the conventional ways to go about this. Notwithstanding their efficacy, the utilisation of preventive measures is characteristically less than for systematic healthcare services. Distinctive from their ostensible cost in money and time, the benefits of preventive measures are not directly seen by patients because their impacts are on the long-term or may be bigger for the community as a whole than at a personal level.
Public health programmes are imperative in sensitising the community and promoting healthier lifestyles and awareness about chronic diseases. Studies indicate that public health programmes are effective in decreasing death rates related to heart disease, stroke, cancer, and diabetes, but the results are rather varied, contingent on the kind of disorder and the nature of programmes therein. It is indeterminate whether school-based strategies on aiming at risk-factors on chronic illnesses like policies on physical activity, smoking, alcohol abuse and healthy eating, would improve the behaviour and health of both students and staff.
The chronicity of diseases has regularly been attributed to numerous health-linked conditions like physical impairment and metabolic syndrome. Public Health professionals have developed curiosity in chronicity of diseases owing to the fact that they do contribute to sickness, incapacity and reduced psychological capability. For instance, hypertension is viewed as not only a prolonged disorder in itself, but also associated to sicknesses such as stroke and heart disease. Furthermore, some socio-economic aspects, like abject poverty, may be viewed as a chronic condition as it may eventually lead to incapacity.
Chronicity of diseases may equally manifest in mental health, in which loneliness becomes linked with the condition. Research shows that loneliness has unfavourable outcomes comparable to that of obesity and tobacco smoking. Feelings of seclusion are linked with poor levels of health and an amplified level of mental health ailments in some people. The link between chronic disease and solitude has been recognised but hitherto disregarded in addressing the scourge. Loneliness and solitude have been associated with chronic stress, which is an equally serious issue about health and wellness.
The mental burden of chronic disease is often underrated in the community and the emotional effect of chronic disease likewise has an impact on the educational and intellectual growth of a person. For instance, people with type 1 diabetes undergo a long period of repetitive and difficult healthcare ways, generally related to day-to-day monitoring of insulin, blood sugar, and continuous self-management. This sort of relentless devotion that is mandatory for this diabetes and other chronic diseases, may consequently lead to mental instability.
Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) are the silent killers, and strange enough, they are not getting the attention as much as infectious illnesses are. Owing to their steady, persistent form, they are acknowledged by countless people as a matter of chance; that is to say, you can or cannot get it and it all depends on probability. But this is far from the truth, since one’s lifestyle has a huge effect as a risk feature for these conditions. Studies show that about 60% of the deaths globally could be associated with NCDs, largely due to stroke, heart disease, cancer obesity and diabetes.
At some point, NCDs were assumed to be the conditions only present in industrialised or advanced countries. However, these diseases are anticipated to rise ubiquitously, but more worrying is their presence in developing countries now, where high occurrence rates are being witnessed. They are seen as the biggest recurring root cause of mortality in many countries, including Africa, that has for a long time succumbed to infectious diseases.
The World Health Organisation indicates that there is about 80% of deaths from diabetes, stroke, and heart disease, and nearly 90% of mortality from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, happen in low- and middle-income nations. By 2030, it is estimated that NCDs would be the main reason for diseases and death occurrence in many countries.
The fast-rising NCDs challenge in many counties, both developed and developing, is augmented by progressively inactive lives, increased movements from rural to urban areas and possibly undesirable impact of globalisation. People in developing countries are more and more consuming junk food and food marketing companies target these vulnerable communities. Henceforth, the cost to national healthcare has been going up and anticipated to rise. Substantial costs to an individual, a family, business and government bring about a serious economic effect. Cardiovascular illnesses, obesity, diabetes, cancer, and hypertension hugely strain national economies annually, especially in countries with more people. NCDs are silent killers with a fierce effect. There is surely need for more education, sensitisation and alertness by individuals, families, and governments to address this crisis.
Preventive health is very much inclined towards the food that we eat. Many people eat “bad” food, that just makes them feel good there and then. But this food does not meet the body’s nutritional requirements. We then blame the environment, our genes, and our age without looking at the actual trigger of our conditions.
It is important to underscore that among the many foods that we eat, some of them have more effects on our bodies than the others. Among the foods that have been associated with degenerative and poor health include some dairy products, alcohol, sugar, wheat products, red meat, and refined vegetable oils.
According to recent research studies, personal experiences and observations, the good news is that a huge proportion of chronic diseases is avoidable through consideration of certain well-researched health trails: food and diet; mental health; physical health; optimum immunity; microbiome; toxins; alcohol and smoking; excessive and inappropriate medication use; and clean genes and renewed cells. But before we delve into these health trails, let us first of all appreciate some of the body’s amazing mechanisms that would only work effectively if given the right environment.
THE BODY IS NOT STUPID!
If you dive into a swimming pool of cold water, that will cause your body temperature to come down instantaneously and your blood vessels, nervous system and muscles will actually work together in symbiosis to re-establish your normal body temperature. When your temperature comes down, your body realises this act and responds accordingly. Your muscles will quiver, your blood vessels will narrow and there will be formation of goose bumps to assist in retaining heat and increase your body temperature back to its normal state. The body’s mechanisms work to control a steady internal temperature.
When you are in your house, office and anywhere else, the temperature in these places may not be the same. But your body temperature is typically closer to the normal value regardless of the place in which you are. If your main body temperature does not remain in equilibrium, the results can be deadly! This process is also known as Thermoregulation, a process that allows your body to maintain its core internal temperature.
If you are a healthy person, your internal body temperature falls within a narrow window. On average, you will have a baseline temperature of about 37°C and your body has a degree of flexibility with temperature. Nevertheless, if you get to excesses of body temperature, it can affect your body’s ability to function. For example, if your body temperature falls to 35°C or lower, you will have hypothermia which may hypothetically lead to cardiac arrest, brain damage, or even death. If your body temperature rises as high as 42°C, which is hyperthermia, you equally can suffer brain damage or even death.
When you are eating a meal and drinking water at the same time, the body is constantly controlling the amount of fluid to mix with the food, to balance up the alkalinity or acidity of the food.
And so, the human body has several mechanisms that foster equilibrium. Some of the most vital mechanisms that help control the body include cells, glands, organs and tissues. This regulation affords the body to continuously be in a stable condition. Our bodies work to regulate several of these functions through a process called Homeostasis. The main mechanisms of homeostasis are pH of extracellular body fluid composition, blood pressure, blood sugar, body temperature, the right concentrations of potassium, calcium and sodium ions and gas concentrations. These need to be regulated despite changes in the environment, diet, or level of activity to maintain life.
Homeostasis is thus the state of stable internal chemical and physical situations maintained by living systems. This dynamic state of equilibrium is the condition of optimal functioning for the organism keeping systems within a certain pre-set limit or what is called Homeostatic range. In other words, the body negates and resists unnecessary change to maintain internal stability. The body keeps to what is called set points which are conventional target values.
For example, the level of various ions in your blood must be constant, together with pH and glucose levels. If these indicators get too low or too high, you may end up really ill. Homeostasis is maintained at many levels, not just the level of the whole body as it is for temperature. Further, the stomach has a specific pH different from other organs around, and each individual cell preserves ion levels that are not the same from those of the adjacent fluids. So, upholding homeostasis at each concentration is cardinal to maintaining the holistic function of the body.
Aside from the main area of homeostasis, the brain, the heart and many other organs work hard to maintain equilibrium at all times. For instance, once someone suffers from a stroke, recovery borders on how well healthy parts of the brain take over functions and roles that had been done by the spoiled brain tissue. Recovery is feasible because of the brain’s capacity to compensate for the injury in one sector by working harder in another; relying on alternative connections for some functions or by refurbishing around the incapacitated location.
Isn’t that just amazing! This happens without us realising it. This Chapter is about some of those crucial remarkable mechanisms that happen when you are not even aware that they are taking place. Your amazing and devoted body will do anything to keep you alive, ensuring it finds balance. It will tell you what it needs, and you just have to read the signs. Given the right milieu, the body is able to adjust and control many processes naturally without much ado. Life is a miracle, and the body is simply incredible.
In the modern world, technology is being applied in our daily lives. Familiar technological homeostatic mechanisms are things such as a thermostat which operates by switching heaters or air-conditioners on and off in response to the output of a temperature sensor. Similarly, a cruise control adjusts a car’s throttle in response to changes in speed, just as autopilot operates the steering controls of an aircraft or ship in response to deviation from a pre-set compass bearing or route. Even process control systems in a chemical plant or oil refinery maintain fluid levels, pressures, temperature, chemical composition and so on by controlling heaters, pumps, and valves.
The mechanisms by which modern gadgets control various things in our life, could be viewed as being derived from and equated with the amazing mechanism of the body’s Homeostasis.
Homeostatic regulation involves the receptor, the control centre and the effector. The receptor receives information that something in the environment is changing while next the control centre or integration centre, receives and processes information from the receptor. And finally, the effector responds to the commands of the control centre by either opposing or enhancing the stimulus. This is a constant process that repeatedly works to re-establish and sustain homeostasis. In regulating body temperature, for instance, there are temperature receptors in the skin, that communicate information to the brain, which is the control centre and the effector is our blood vessels and sweat glands in our skin. Because the internal and external environments of the body are constantly changing and adjustments must be made continuously to stay at or near the set point, homeostasis is thought of as a synthetic equilibrium.
Homeostasis is essentially the procedure of preserving a steady internal atmosphere, notwithstanding fluctuations in the external atmosphere. We are involved in many activities in our lives and our biological systems continuously get adjusted from the usual set targets and standards. When you engage in physical activity, heat production in the muscles goes up, consequently pushing the temperature of the body up. In the same vein, when you sip some fruit juice, blood glucose increases. Homeostasis relies on the aptitude of our bodies to notice, negate, and oppose such adjustments and variations.
Homeostasis depends on Negative Feedback Loops (NFL). Anything that inhibits the feedback system may interrupt it and for animals like human beings, this could be fatal and may lead to sickness. The Negative feedback involves a response that is the reverse of the change detected because it functions to reduce the change. A change is detected by a receptor and an effector is activated to induce an opposite effect which promotes equilibrium. Thermoregulation as explained earlier and Blood sugar regulation, where insulin lowers blood glucose when levels are high, and glucagon raises blood glucose when levels are low, are some of the examples of Negative Feedback Loop.
The opposite of NFL is Positive Feedback Loops (PFL), where the body amplifies the starting signal. This is eminent in a process that needs to be pushed to its end or accomplishment or achievement, unlike the maintenance of a status quo, like in Negative Feedback Loop. A good example is childbirth and blood clotting. For childbirth, there is stretching of uterine walls causing contractions that further stretch the walls. This continues until the child is born. As far as blood clotting is concerned, it is considered part of the Positive Feedback Loop because it is looked at as an effector that amplifies the effect of the Negative Feedback (NF) Loop. When there is a haemorrhage (that is loss of blood), it will cause a sequential activation of clotting factors. Here, a single clotting factor results in the activation of many more clotting factors. This is also known as a PF Cascade. This overall process will give the completion of the NF Loop because blood loss was prevented with the clotting factors, resulting in Homeostasis.
Other examples of PFL are lactation, where the child feeding stimulates milk production which causes further feeding (continues until baby stops feeding); ovulation in which the dominant follicle releases oestrogen which stimulates Luteinising Hormone (LH) and Follicle-Stimulating Hormone (FSH) release, to promote further follicular growth.
Take note that positive and negative refer to the effect of the feedback on the original stimulus and they have nothing to do with good and bad.
Unique situations, such as predictive homeostasis, implies an anticipatory response to an expected challenge in the future, such as the stimulation of insulin secretion by gut hormones which enter the blood in response to a meal. This insulin secretion occurs before the blood sugar level rises, lowering the blood sugar level in anticipation of a large influx into the blood of glucose resulting from the digestion of carbohydrates in the gut. Such anticipatory reactions are open loop systems which are based, essentially, on guess work and are not self-correcting. Anticipatory responses always require a closed loop negative feedback system to correct the over-shoots and under-shoots to which the anticipatory systems are prone.
Many chronic diseases are the result of a homeostatic failure. Almost any homeostatic component can malfunction either as a result of an inherited defect, an inborn error of metabolism, or an acquired disease. Some homeostatic mechanisms have inbuilt redundancies, which ensure that life is not immediately threatened if a component malfunctions; but sometimes a homeostatic malfunction can result in serious disease, which can be fatal if not treated. A well-known example of a homeostatic failure is shown in type 1 diabetes mellitus. Here, blood sugar regulation is unable to function because the beta cells of the pancreatic islets are destroyed and cannot produce the necessary insulin. The blood sugar rises in a condition known as hyperglycaemia.
As organisms age, the efficiency of their control systems becomes reduced. The inefficiencies gradually result in an unstable internal environment that increases the risk of illness and leads to the physical changes associated with aging. Various chronic diseases are kept under control by homeostatic compensation, which masks a problem by compensating for it (making up for it) in another way. However, the compensating mechanisms eventually wear out or are disrupted by a new complicating factor (such as the advent of a concurrent acute viral infection), which sends the body reeling through a new cascade of events. Such decompensation unmasks the underlying disease, worsening its symptoms. Common examples include decompensated kidney, heart, and liver failures.
The homeostatic environment of the body is generally encompassed by Negative Feedback Loops that act in opposition with the stimulus, or cue, that activates them. The body’s complex mechanism of regulating temperature stabilises the production of heat with heat loss, keeping the body temperature optimally. This automatic amazing act is accomplished by a tiny part of the brain that functions as a command area for several functions of the body, that includes Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) and coordination. This tiny part is called Hypothalamus. Like a thermostat controlling temperature in your house, the Hypothalamus controls body temperature, in line with the external and internal provocations and adjusting accordingly. This organ must fine-tune complicated body temperature activities, aside its role in the release of hormones, body fluids balancing and salt concentrations. It also works symbiotically with other body parts, like the sweat glands, blood vessels and the skin.
The dermis is the middle layer of the skin that keeps most of the water in the body. When the sweat glands are activated by heat, the glands transport water, together with the body’s salt, to the surface of the skin as sweat, where the water evaporates. This brings about cooling from the skin, maintaining temperature at a safe level.
Two types of heat regulation are known that the body uses. The ectothermic and endothermic. Ectothermic is where we gain the temperature from our surrounding environment, while endothermic is where we maintain our own main temperature. When we control our own temperature, receptors in the skin and hypothalamus in the brain detect these variations. Nerve impulses are sent when the temperature changes. Consequently, this brings alteration depending on whether it is cold or hot, beckoning to the muscles and glands. The body regulates and maintains the temperature in various situations.
When it is hot, there is vasodilation, where the arterioles become enlarged to allow more blood to enter the skin capillaries and heat is lost. When we sweat, sudorific glands secrete sweat which removes heat when water changes state. The body also makes the hair on our body flat in what is called pilorelaxation and when it is cold, the opposite happens in what is known as vasoconstriction. The arterioles get smaller to reduce blood going to the skin and keeping us warm. As human beings, we also experience shivering because rapid constriction and relaxation of skeletal muscles take place and respiration produces heat. The hair stands up.
The Hypothalamus’ role to thermoregulate comes in when your internal temperature changes, as sensors in your Central Nervous System (CNS) send messages to your Hypothalamus. In response, it sends signals to various organs and systems in the body. When it senses that the inner temperature is getting too low or high, it sends a signal to the muscles, glands, organs, and nervous system which do respond in a variety of ways to maintain equilibrium.
So, if the temperature of the body is too low, a Negative Feedback Loop will act to bring it upwards towards the set point, or target value of about 37.0 Degrees Celsius (98.6°F). What happens is that high temperature will be noticed by sensors, chiefly the nerve cells, with endings in the skin and brain. This information is sent to the temperature-regulatory control center in the brain. The control center then processes the information and activate effectors, like the sweat glands, whose job is to oppose the stimulus by bringing body temperature down. You may develop a fever when your brain sets the body temperature higher than normal, due for example, to a response to a virus or bacteria attack. The body may also react due to other substances made by the body itself.
The body is continuously acclimatising its temperature according to situations in the environment. For example, the temperature may go up if we are involved in physical activity. It is lower in the night and higher in the afternoon than it is in the morning. So, many factors may affect the body’s temperature, such as spending time in cold or hot weather situations. The factors that may raise your internal temperature could be exercise, digestion, and fever. Those elements that may lower your internal temperature could be alcohol use, metabolic processes or drug use.
Essentially, pH means potential of hydrogen, because hydrogen ions are measured in a specific solution and if there are a lot of ions, the solution is more acidic. If they are less, the solution is inclined to alkalinity. Its scale calibrates from 0 to 14 and of course, neutral is at 7, while below, is acidic and above 7, is alkaline. It is also known that the more acidic the solution is, the less oxygen it contains and the more alkaline the solution, the more the oxygen.
The lungs control the pH amount in our bodies. If pH levels become unbalanced, the lungs push more or less carbon dioxide out of the diaphragm. This can raise or lower pH levels in the body.
Your amazing body is created to optimally work within a certain range, and you want to be on the alkaline side, with a blood pH of around 7.35, 7.45, (just slightly alkaline). The stomach is known to be the most acidic area in the body. The pH of gastric or hydrochloric acid is estimated at about 1.5 to 2.5 in the human stomach lumen. The acid here is believed to fight extraneous intruders and break down, mostly protein foods. The upper stomach is less acidic than the lower one.
Underscore that blood is an important component in your body and so it must always be safeguarded, avoiding variations at all costs. Signs and symptoms may rupture from a small start because of an imbalance and variation. If our pH is wrong, the corresponding chemistry will be wrong too. Having the right pH of the tissues in the body is among the most vital things you can do to your health. If this is not normal, the body cells do not work properly. Most of the degenerative illnesses like Cancer, heart illness, kidney disease, arthritis, tooth problems, gout and others are associated with wrong pH and high levels of acid in the body.
Think of having a cold, flu, fatigue, stress, reflux, some chronic illness like cancer and so on, which may all be associated with an acidic blood environment. This is because there are drastic decreases in oxygen, which is dangerous and things like cancer cells, which are anaerobic, do not necessarily need oxygen, and so, such an acidic environment is conducive and cancer cells thrive.
Remember that it is easier for the body to get so much acidic than the other way. Your amazing body often times, takes care of naturally present acids which come as by-products of metabolism, exercise, breathing and others. But the acidic environment is exacerbated by the modern lifestyle, standard diet that is highly acidic because it is highly processed or highly refined and rich in unnecessary animal protein, lack of exercises, not having enough sleep, stress, and drug use, among others. This acidic environment is also a good area for the growth and multiplication of harmful bacteria and fungi.
When the body gets off-balance because of too much acid around, it tries to steal from enzymes and minerals present. Potassium, calcium, sodium, iron, magnesium, zinc, and many others, are needed by the body to make enzymes, proteins, hormones. Magnesium, potassium and calcium are found in real food and help bring about an alkaline environment in the body. In an event that the body gets too acidic, therefore, the body will scrounge everywhere looking for these minerals to help balance the body to an optimal pH. Among the victims of this search are the bones, teeth, tissues, and organs that have many minerals for good health, and this may lead to a deadly condition called Osteoporosis and loss of bone density. This will make the bones brittle. So, you see, the body is not stupid because it is only doing the best it can for you, but at the same time leaving you vulnerable elsewhere and it has no choice.
And so, what do you do to maintain an alkaline environment? Eat more alkaline food which is mostly present in fresh fruits and vegetables. Eat as much in raw form as possible. Once you are in an alkaline state, it is simpler to stay so, than trying to restore to alkalinity when you get too acidic. It is estimated that it takes more than 20 times the alkalinity amount to counterbalance to acidic environment. Think of all that trouble and work! Most of the products from animals and fast foods are very acidic and this is our daily bread. The challenge is that we are taking more acidic foods than alkaline ones that contribute heavily to body imbalances.
Blood glucose literally denotes the amount of blood sugar in the bloodstream. It is derived from any kind of food you may eat or any drink, but mostly from carbohydrate foods. This is in addition to the glucose storage in the muscles. For non-diabetics, Blood Glucose Levels (BGLs) are usually constant because the body is capable of producing insulin to deal with glucose. But for diabetics, BGLs vary extensively, and they are prone to both hyperglycaemia (very high blood glucose) and hypoglycaemia (very low blood glucose). The body tries to manage this situation in the best way possible, but sometimes we task our body too much through our food, lifestyle, or medication and eventually this condition may lead to damaged blood vessels and adverse health hullaballoos that may include cardiovascular disease, kidney diseases or cancer.
If the BGLs go up above the standard range, insulin is released, which excites our body cells to take away the blood glucose. If blood glucose level drops below the normal range, glucagon is released, which arouses body cells to release glucose into the blood. A fall in blood glucose, causes insulin secretion to be stopped, and glucagon to be secreted from the alpha cells into the blood. This inhibits the uptake of glucose from the blood by the liver, fat cells and muscles. Instead, the liver is strongly stimulated to manufacture glucose from glycogen (through glycogenolysis) and from non-carbohydrate sources (such as lactate and de-aminated amino acids) using a process known as gluconeogenesis. The glucose thus produced is discharged into the blood correcting the detected error (hypoglycemia).
The glycogen stored in muscles remains in the muscles, and is only broken down, during exercise, to glucose-6-phosphate and thence to pyruvate to be fed into the citric acid cycle or turned into lactate. It is only the lactate and the waste products of the citric acid cycle that are returned to the blood. The liver can take up only the lactate, and by the process of energy consuming gluconeogenesis, convert it back to glucose.
There are many chronic illnesses nowadays and one of them is diabetes. This disease can be looked at as being triggered by a shattered feedback loop that concerns insulin hormone. The loop makes it hard for your body to bring raised blood sugar down to an optimal level. Insulin reduces the concentration of glucose in the blood. After you eat a (carb) meal, your blood glucose levels go up, prompting insulin secretion from beta cells of the pancreas. Insulin acts as a signal that activates cells of the body, such as fat and muscle cells, to take up glucose for use as fuel. Insulin also causes glucose to be converted to glycogen, (a storage molecule) in the liver. Both processes pull sugar out of the blood, bringing blood sugar levels down, reducing insulin secretion and returning the whole system to homeostasis.
And so, the body’s homeostatic system keeps blood glucose levels within a narrow range. There are several interacting systems, of which hormone regulation is the most important. Two types of mutually antagonistic metabolic hormones affecting blood glucose levels are the Catabolic hormones, (such as glucagon, cortisol and catecholamines, which increase blood glucose).
Anabolic hormone (insulin) decreases blood glucose and are secreted from pancreatic islets, bundles of endocrine tissues. There are four types of pancreatic islets, alpha (A) cells, beta (B) cells, Delta (D) cells and F cells. Glucagon is secreted from alpha cells, while insulin is secreted by beta cells. Together they regulate the blood-glucose levels through negative feedback, like mentioned earlier on, where the end product of one reaction stimulates the beginning of another reaction. In blood-glucose levels, insulin lowers the concentration of glucose in the blood. The lower blood-glucose level (a product of the insulin secretion) triggers glucagon to be secreted and repeats the cycle.
In order for blood glucose to be kept stable, alterations to insulin, glucagon, epinephrine, and cortisol are effected. Each of these hormones has a different role to keep blood glucose controlled. When blood sugar is too high, insulin informs the muscles to take up excess glucose for storage. Glucagon responds to too low of a blood glucose level, informing the tissues to produce more glucose. Epinephrine prepares the muscles and respiratory system for activity in the case of a fight and flight response. Finally, cortisol provides the body with fuel in times of heavy stress. That is just all to keep the amazing circle in check and in equilibrium.
Enzymes are catalysts composed of proteins. They are in thousands, helping in the processes such as some cardiovascular functions, curative, cleansing and digestion. They come in two categories: metabolic ones and digestive ones. There are also food enzymes. Digestive enzymes break the food we eat into absorbable form starting in the mouth down to the colon. These enzymes are heat and pH sensitive and so some processing of food may disturb their efficacy, such as cooking and highly refined food.
Amylase in the mouth and in saliva, breaks down starch into sugar; Pepsin in the stomach breaks down protein; Lipase made by the Pancreas in the small intestine, breaks down fat.
Ladies and gentlemen, boys, and girls, if we have inadequate or no enzymes at any stage as outlined, there are so many food blunders that take place including reflux and other maldigestion and malabsorption. Too much food and snacking on mostly highly processed carb foods, also contribute to the problem.
Because of the highly processed foods that we eat every day, the body is deprived of appropriate enzymes as these are removed. But the body needs to make the enzymes for digestive functions. Consequently, the body will take more time and energy making these digestive enzymes at the expense of metabolic enzymes.
The metabolic enzymes actually are the ones that run our bodies because they formulate biochemical reactions in the trillions of our cells; building tissues, organs, blood, repair, cell energy production and waste management. Food enzymes on the other hand, assist the pancreas by discharging more metabolic enzymes for purification, restitution, repair, and holistic inclusive upkeep.
The optimal function of enzymes as above, is only possible when we give our bodies the right ammunition: plenty of fruits and vegetables, mostly raw, as they are full of their own enzymes and chlorophyll, which we as human beings also benefit from. Eating lots of raw food, if possible organic, will enable your body thrive, fight illness and promote longevity.
Regulation of Blood Pressure
The body must maintain healthy levels of blood pressure. To do so, the brain sends signals to the heart to speed up or slow down according to the blood pressure. As human beings, we have complicated systems that help regulate our blood pressure. Blood pressure is the force of blood against our blood vessel walls. Pressure sensors that are found in the walls of the blood vessels sense some variations in blood pressure and send a signal to the brain, instructing it to make alterations in the body that may affect blood pressure.
The main ways the body controls the blood pressure comprise:
1) Heartbeat Changes: When the heart beats faster, more blood is pumped through the vessels and the blood pressure is raised. Likewise, when the heart beats with more powerful contractions, it pumps more blood with each beat and pressure goes up.
2) Blood vessel walls contraction or expansion: The blood vessel walls are muscular, that permits them to contract or expand. The more the narrow vessels, the faster blood flow and the higher the blood pressure. Expanded vessels are of course wider, permitting blood to flow more easily.
3) Function of the Kidney: The body can equally adjust the volume of the blood by regulating the retention of water and urination through the function of the kidney. The higher the volume of the blood, the higher the blood pressure.
Your blood pressure varies throughout the day. It is higher when you are vigorous or enthusiastic and lower when you are asleep or inactive. Your body rapidly regulates these changes by monitoring the heartbeat and blood vessel diameter.
Take for example exercise. The blood pressure here goes up because the pressure sensors in the blood vessels notice the upsurge and send messages to the brain to slow the beating of the heart, bring down the strength of the heart’s contractions and relax blood vessel walls to decrease blood pressure. Equally, when you hurriedly move from a resting to a standing position, the blood pressure drops. The body senses this and increases the heart rate and force of contractions. It also constricts the blood vessel walls to increase the pressure of the blood.
The blood pressure may also suddenly fall, like when you have hurt yourself and lose a lot of blood. In addition to prompting variations in your heartbeat and blood vessel walls, the abrupt drop in blood pressure will also generate release of some hormones that affect your kidney function. If you lose too much blood, the body notices the situation volume of the blood and brings about the release of hormones that signal to the kidneys to hold salt and water. This subsequently increases the volume of the blood, thus increasing the blood pressure.
Once this is prolonged, the kidneys will be primarily accountable for the blood pressure. Many blood pressure-lowering medications work by activating the kidneys to release extra sodium and fluid. In good working order, this system of regulation of fluids keeps the blood pressure comparatively steady over the years. When your blood pressure is high, hormones are released to signal increased urination, lowering blood volume and blood pressure. When blood volume and pressure are too low, secreted hormones from the brain inform the kidneys to hold sodium and water, upsurging blood volume and blood pressure. The challenge with this system may lead to high blood pressure, which may be associated with the risk of cardiovascular ailments.
Salt and blood pressure
Salt comprises sodium and chloride. It is mostly the sodium part that is an issue here, a mineral occurring naturally in foods. This may cause elevated blood pressure. Some forms of sodium are present in food, like Monosodium Glutamate (MSG), which is added as a food enhancer, prominent in Chinese food.
Salt works on the kidneys to make the body hold on to more water. The additional stored water raises blood pressure and puts stress on the kidneys, heart, brain, and arteries. The kidneys filter more than 120 quarts of blood each day, pulling toxins and unwanted fluid from cells throughout the body. These toxins are consequently forwarded to the bladder for onward removal.
The body takes out unnecessary fluids by filtering the blood via the kidneys. It is while here that any excess fluid is sucked out and taken to the bladder and urine is the result. This is only possible through osmosis that draws the excess or extra water out of the blood. The procedure makes use of a delicate sodium and potassium equilibrium or homeostasis, to wrench the water across a wall of cells from the bloodstream into a collecting canal that leads to the bladder.
According to studies, sodium retains or holds (extra) water in the body. This is to wash the salt from the body. What this means is that eating excess salt increases the amount of sodium in the bloodstream and wrecks the delicate balance, reducing the ability of the kidneys to remove the water. It makes it harder for the kidneys to remove the excess water or fluids. When the kidneys are thrown off balance due to the excess salt intake, the blood pressure elevates consequently affecting vital organs such as the heart. The higher blood pressure is due to excess fluids and additional stress on the delicate blood vessels. With time, this extra strain on the kidneys can damage the kidneys, leading to kidney disease. The capacity of the kidneys to filter unwanted and toxic waste products is reduced and this begins to accumulate in the body.
And so, high blood pressure caused by eating excess salt puts stress on the insides of the arteries (could be arteries leading to the heart or brain). To deal with this stress, the miniature muscles in the artery walls become stronger and thicker, causing the space inside them to get smaller and raising the pressure of the blood. Over a period of time, could be many years, this state of high blood pressure would in due course burst the arteries or become too narrow and clog up completely. In this regard, the organs of the body (brain or heart) receiving the blood from the arteries become starved of the oxygen and nutrients they need. In terms of the heart, you can have angina or heart attack and in terms of the brain, maybe a stroke or vascular dementia.
If kidney disease remains untreated and the blood pressure keeps skyrocketing every time, the damage can lead to kidney failure where the kidneys no longer filter the blood and the body slowly becomes poisoned by its own toxic waste products.
Patients with high blood pressure are usually treated with a diuretic medication. This process makes the kidneys remove excess fluid from the bloodstream. Because sodium in salt prevents this effect, salt intake reduction would improve the condition and possibly the medication.
Reducing the amount of salt in the food would be one of the best ways to address elevated blood pressure. It may also help blood pressure medicines like diuretics, to work well. Nevertheless, it is not easy to do this most times because most of the salt is hidden in highly processed foods that we eat all the times.
Toxins in the blood can disrupt the body’s homeostasis. Thus, the urinary system is signalled to ensure that the toxins are excreted. When toxins get into the blood, they interrupt the body’s equilibrium. The human body, however, responds by getting rid of these toxins by use of the urinary system. An individual simply urinates the toxins and other nasty things from the blood, restoring homeostasis to the human body.
Detoxification or detoxication is the removal of toxic substances from our bodies mainly carried out by the liver. It can be seen as a period of withdrawal during which we return to homeostasis. Our bodies contain chemicals known as acids and bases and a proper balance of these is required for the body to function optimally. Lungs and kidneys are two of the organ systems that regulate acids and bases within the body. But the kidneys and the liver are the important organs of the body that assist in filtering out food, medications, alcohol, and other substances that get into the body. The materials we take into our body can contaminate our liver and kidney and cause malfunction that may lead to many kinds of problems such as renal failure, kidney stone, liver cirrhosis and hepatitis.
So, the liver and kidneys automatically detoxify and excrete many toxic materials including metabolic wastes. The adult human body is composed of almost 60 percent water. Every single organ, from the brain to the liver, requires water to function. As the filtration system of the body, the kidneys require water to secrete urine. Urine is the primary waste product that allows the body to get rid of unwanted or unnecessary substances.
More than half of our bodies’ weight percentage is water and maintaining the correct balance of water is an example of homeostasis. Cells that have too much water in them bloat and can even blow up. Cells with too little water can end up shrinking. Your body maintains a proper water balance so that neither of these situations occur. When water intake is low, urine volume is low and a low urine output may lead to kidney dysfunction, such as the creation of kidney stones. It is critical to drink enough water so that the kidneys can properly flush out any excess waste materials and the cells work optimally.
This is especially important during a kidney cleanse. Grapes, peanuts, and some berries contain a beneficial plant compound called resveratrol, which studies have revealed lowers kidney inflammation in some animals.
Antioxidants and Free Radicals
Too much acid in the body destabilises the body and puts too much pressure on the vital organs such as the kidneys and liver. In the process of neutralising the acids, some elements called free radicals are created which may be deadly to the cells. These molecules lose one of their electrons which makes them unstable. To stabilise themselves, they need to grab an electron from another molecule and that molecule in turn becomes a free radical (some call them short form, free rads) and that creates a circus. In excess, these free rads can damage cells and can be carcinogenic.
Your amazing and fervent body manufactures what is called Antioxidants. Their main goal is to deal with free radicals. What happens is that antioxidants are known to be givers and so they do donate their extra electron to the avaricious free radicals which in turn stabilise. The antioxidant does this by delivering the electron through the liver and once it does that, it returns to the blood stream to check on the other free radicals and start the process all over again. And so, as many antioxidants as possible, will enable you control these bad boys time and again and prevent oxidative stress, aging and damage to the precious cells and ultimately prevent diseases such as some cancers. But, if you have too many of the free rads, the body gives up and your health starts a nosedive!
Mind you, not all free rads are bad, others are good as they deal with foreign bodies and waste.
This brings us to the question of how do we help this amazing body shade off free rads using antioxidants? Well, there are important attributes of most food that we ought to eat that can assist the body fight these free rads. Food has what is called Phytochemicals or Phytonutrients, (phyto, for plant). They are in their thousands and they come in a plethora of flavours and colours: green, yellow, orange, red...in short, they are a rainbow representation. They could be berries, carrots, sweet potatoes, watermelon, tomatoes, grapes, apples, onions and so on. The brighter the colours, the more likely the phytonutrients.
These defend and fight off ailments in the plants. They are also known to be sensitive to heating and therefore, are more effective taken raw, though some exceptions suffice, such as lycopene (say in tomatoes or watermelon) and beta-carotene (as in carrots), that are more bio-available once cooked or slightly processed.
Thus, eating more phytonutrients has a rebounding effect of assisting our amazing bodies fight our own free radicals and improving our holistic health.
Endocrine System and Hormonal Balance
The endocrine system consists of glands which secrete hormones into the bloodstream. Each hormone has an effect on one or more target tissues. In this way the endocrine system regulates the metabolism and development of most body cells and body systems. Our bone growth is regulated by several hormones, and the endocrine system helps with the mobilisation of calcitonin and calcium. In the muscular system, hormones adjust muscle metabolism, energy production, and growth. In the nervous system, hormones affect neural metabolism, regulate fluid/electrolyte balance, and help with reproductive hormones that influence Central Nervous System (CNS) development and behaviours. In the Cardiovascular system, we need hormones that regulate the production of Red Blood Cells (RBCs), which elevate and lower blood pressure. Hormones also have anti-inflammatory effects and stimulate the lymphatic system. The endocrine system has a regulatory effect on basically every other body system.
Hormones are chemicals that are part of the body’s communication network. They are produced by glands in the Endocrine System. They are messenger molecules that give instructions to help the body self-regulate. They travel through the bloodstream to the tissues and organs, delivering messages that tell the organs what to do and when to do it. They are significant for regulating most major bodily processes. If one, therefore, has a hormonal imbalance, that can impact on a variety of bodily functions. Hormones help to regulate the heart rate, reproductive cycles and sexual functions, metabolism and appetite, stress and mood levels, body temperature and the general growth and development. The hormone imbalances can impact negatively on both women and men, reminiscent in growth, insulin levels, adrenalin, and steroids. The imbalanced levels of oestrogen and progesterone can be more manifested in women, while testosterone imbalances may affect men more.
In metabolism, when one consumes sugar, the beta cells of the pancreas release insulin, instructing the cells to get the sugar and maintain proper blood sugar levels. Nevertheless, insulin does many other things such as storage of fat and when you insincerely bring up the levels of insulin through too much sugar in the diet, an intended signal is conveyed that annoys oestrogen and testosterone levels. As a matter of fact, sugar actually annoys the whole balance of hormones and transmitting wrong information in the body and making the body off balance and out of self-regulation, hence the deadly nature of sugar. The body makes use of about 50 different hormones to assist with self-regulation and all of them work in symbiosis. These hormones activate and deactivate certain genes which balances the act.
Almost all human beings experience periods of hormonal imbalance or fluctuations in life. But these hormonal imbalances may also be evident when the endocrine glands are not working properly. Endocrine glands are specialised cells that produce, store and release hormones into the blood. There are several endocrine glands located throughout the body that control different organs, including the adrenal glands, pituitary gland, hypothalamus gland, thyroid and parathyroid glands and pancreatic islets.
Due to our lifestyle, sedentary life, lack of sleep, hormone medications, stress, too much animal products, sugar, white flour, vegetable oil or processed dairy products, hormonal imbalance occurs, and this could bring catastrophic results to the body.
Cardiovascular System is the system that circulates blood and lymph through the body, consisting of the heart, blood vessels, the brain, blood, lymph and the lymphatic vessels and glands.
The cardiovascular system, in addition to needing to maintain itself within certain levels, plays a role in maintenance of other body systems by transporting hormones and nutrients, taking away waste products and providing all living body cells with a fresh supply of oxygen and removing carbon dioxide. Homeostasis is disturbed if the cardiovascular or lymphatic systems are not functioning correctly.
Our skin, bones, muscles, lungs, digestive tract and nervous, endocrine, lymphatic, urinary and reproductive systems use the cardiovascular system as its road or highway as far as distribution of things such as nutrients, oxygen, waste products, hormones, drugs are concerned. There are many risk factors for an unhealthy cardiovascular system. Some diseases associated are typically labelled uncontrollable or controllable. The main uncontrollable risk factors are age, gender, and a family history of heart disease, especially at an early age. The cardiovascular system also contains sensors to monitor blood pressure, called baroreceptors, that work by detecting how stretched a blood vessel is. This information is relayed to the Medulla Oblongata in the brain where action is taken to raise or lower blood pressure via the autonomic nervous system.
As we can see, the system of homeostasis keeps our internal atmosphere within specific set parameters. When our cells in the body do not work properly, the equilibrium is interrupted. Homeostatic disequilibrium may cause chronic illness due to lack of required necessities by cells as well as cells being exposed to toxic environments. Once homeostasis is disrupted, the body may enhance or deteriorate the challenge, with certain factors at play. With non-modifiable factors such as age and genes, external factors are equally prominent inclined on lifestyle and environmental exposure. These factors together influence the ability of the body to maintain homeostasis.
Each body system contributes to the homeostasis of other systems and of the entire organism. No system of the body works in isolation and the well-being of the person depends upon the well-being of all the interacting body systems. A disruption within one system generally has consequences for several additional body systems. The human body comprises trillions of cells all working together for the maintenance of the entire organism. While cells may perform very different functions, all the cells are quite similar in their metabolic requirements. Maintaining a constant internal environment with all that the cells need to survive (oxygen, glucose, mineral ions, waste removal, and so forth), is necessary for the well-being of individual cells and the well-being of the entire body.
Homeostasis is a natural process, but it can be disturbed by the way we lead our lives, the food we eat, the activities we are involved in, which would send the body off balance. In terms of nutrition, if the food is lacking in a specific vitamin or mineral, the cells will malfunction, possibly resulting in a diseased condition. Things like toxicity may interfere with body functions, causing cells to malfunction. Other factors such as physical and mental health are critical just as much as physical maintenance reminiscent in adequate rest, sunlight, and exercise. Although genetic factors are key, it all depends on the instructions we give the genes to express in a certain way due to our environment.
We may look at homeostasis as a dynamic symmetry that is sustained in body tissues and organs due to the fact that it is continuously fine-tuning vital systems. It can also be seen as an equilibrium as roles of the body are optimally preserved. The kidneys are the foremost osmoregulatory structures in the systems, filtering blood and harmonising body solutions.
The factors listed above all have their effects at the cellular level, whether harmful or beneficial. Inadequate supply of necessary materials to the cells will almost always result in a destructive way to homeostasis. Too much toxicity also causes homeostatic imbalance, resulting in cellular malfunction. By removing negative health influences and providing adequate positive health influences, the body is better able to self-regulate and self-repair, thus maintaining homeostasis. We need to assist the body maintain its homeostasis by doing what the body rightly wants. The body is not stupid because it knows what it needs, in what quantities, when, where and how. All we need to do, is pay attention to its signals every day. That is why food and diet play a pivotal role in maintaining ideal body mechanisms.
FOOD, DIET AND NUTRITION
Having looked at the amazing mechanisms of the body, it is perhaps time to meddle into the nitty-gritties of the chronicity of diseases, starting with food. With no hesitation, what we eat greatly influences our health. Poor nutrition increases the risk for non-communicable diseases and even communicable ones. Plausibly, eating appropriate foods may benefit the body to manage enduring diseases more efficaciously. Even without being sick, food, apparently, becomes the most appropriate thing for a healthy life. Having sound knowledge of food, diet or nutrition and considering what is eaten, may assist in the maintenance or improvement of health for an individual.
Food is what people and animals eat to live. It comprises the nourishment that people and animals require to stay healthy. Food eating is customarily enjoyable to human beings and typically and expectedly, is supposed to have carbohydrates, fat, protein, fat, minerals, vitamins and waters. The types of food that an animal, individual or society customarily eats is a diet. This is as opposed to dieting, which is linked to a programmed or structured or categorised way of eating and counting of calories and other nutrients for a specified period of time. Diet, in the literal sense, is the way that we derive the much-needed nutrients and energy for the body. It is the quantity of foods essentially eaten in a day. Good Nutrition is different from a mere diet, for it denotes the quality of the food itself. Nutrition is food that we require, as human beings, to consume daily for our bodies to function optimally. It is about eating a healthy and balanced diet. A balanced diet is one which offers sufficient quantities of all the nutrients required by the body.
We ought to have a suitable food intake to deliver the right amounts of all nutrients to our cells. A diet is indispensable to replenish nutrients in the body with a fresh stock daily. For instance, water is an important component of nutrition, just like proteins, fats, carbohydrates, minerals, vitamins, Bioactives or phytonutrients. They are all vital and needed components for good health and preventive health, in particular.
Many people have some knowledge of what may be termed as eating healthy, which includes more fruits and vegetables and less of sugar and fried foods. They also have some knowledge that exercise may assist in sustaining a beneficial weight. Nevertheless, for what is known as good or ideal nutrition, a lot more do not know the minutiae and advantages of it and how to achieve that, because it goes far beyond a few foods and weight loss only. Good food and good nutrition are a critical feature of health and wellness.
A healthy nutrient-diet should, therefore, comprise, among others, several natural, whole, real and ultra-unprocessed foods. Ample sizes of healthy foods should contain vegetables and fruits, particularly those that are brightly coloured such as orange, yellow, purple, dark green and red. Starchy carbohydrates like rice, wheat and corn should be in form of whole grains. There must also be adequate amounts of nuts, seeds, and legumes.
Most of the people eat inappropriate types of food which Michael Pollan calls edible-food-like-substances. These foods are seen as being inadequate to meet the requirements of the cells in the body. Individuals spend huge amounts of money on food like that and other people see that as good life and good living. Such kind of food with empty calories, is associated with a chain of health syndromes. Three quarters of the food we eat is derived from foods that are considered bad for our health such as dairy products and processed meat, vegetable oils, sugar and its associated products and white flour and things made out of it.
Some food that maybe considered fresh has low nutrition value due to type of soils the food is grown in, which may be deficient in selenium for example; transportation; processing and chemicals used to grow them and so on. Because such foods are highly chemicalised, the same chemicals found in plants and animals are consistently the same ones that enter our cells once we consume such food, creating a myriad of biochemical imbalances. Additionally, because most people rarely eat raw healthy plant food, most of it is again cooked and overcooked, depriving it of much needed nutrients.
The unfortunate thing is that when we get ill and bedridden, we usually put the blame on our parents, bad genes, age and germs, instead of unmasking the real cause of the conditions. As a matter of fact, most of us are ill-informed about food and nutrition and what to eat, when to eat, why we should eat, who we are and who to eat with, where we should eat from and how we should eat and lead our lives. A tiny fraction of the population understands what food does to keep them healthy and not sick. Added on that is plenty of distorted and confusing food information that may be serving a commercial need and not a health need, reminiscent in many processed foods with an assigned shelf-life and health claims. Some health personnel may equally not be helpful as most of them lack sound nutrition education. This makes an average person, therefore, more confused about what to do to eat and stay healthy and ending up eating food that makes him or her sick. Some people are simply not interested in food and nutrition knowledge and instead just eat and stay the way they want.
Eating food that is less nutritious for longer periods of time, is a sure way to eventually get chronic sickness. Just as much as we would take long on such “empty diets” enjoying the tastes and flavours, is the same manner in which the disease manifests and persists later on. For as long as the body keeps getting these empty calories, the requirements of the cells will never be met, and you will remain on a sick trail.
Dairy Products and too much meat
Nutrition studies do indicate that milk and most of its related products, are purely not essential in our nutrition symmetry. Each nutrient in milk would be found in whole plant-food and some nutrients required for strong bones, such as manganese and vitamin K, are not in milk, but found in whole real plant-food. Almonds, fish (like sardines, oysters, salmon), beans, soyabeans, broccoli and cassava, are excellent calcium sources for strong teeth and bones. Cow’s milk intake has been correlated with iron-deficiency anaemia in children and equally causing other disorders such as allergies, diarrhoea cramps and cardiovascular complications.
But milk has gained a thumbs-up to be a very nutritious food when it is highly allergic to a lot of people. Research shows that human beings are not supposed to drink cow’s milk because it was designed for a calf and not people. A lot of people are not aware that milk of a mammal, such as elephants, goats, human beings, cows, and camels, differs substantially from each other in their sugar, minerals, protein, and fat content. Every one of these was devised to give ideal nourishment to the infant of that particular specie. And so, human being’s milk is different from all these other animals. Once the birthweight of an infant mammal triples, breastfeeding is usually stopped, which takes place at one year in people.
When a baby is born, the best food it has is the mother’s milk, because it has all the nutrients the baby requires. Mother’s milk is simply an amazing all-round food. The mom’s milk is the perfect food for practically all infants because it has colostrum, among others, powerful for the immunity of the baby, when it is born. The milk has plenty of antibodies, which are crucial for the baby’s protection against viral and bacterial infections. But, after the baby is weaned, there is no need for milk and the body’s mechanisms that process milk simply stop. It is argued that it is only human beings who drink the milk of another specie which should not be the case. The cow’s hormones in the milk are not meant for human beings, but for cows that have to grow big. Like it is said, “Cow’s milk is for cows”.
The milk found in the supermarket is known to be an inappropriate food because the fats and proteins contained in the milk of a cow are difficult for an individual to digest. Studies show that communities that consume more milk have high levels of allergies and sicknesses like osteoporosis and cancer, because science shows that milk can drain nutrients from a person. The milk is equally considered not suitable because it undergoes homogenisation and pasteurisation processes, in which all essential fatty acids are removed, and the biochemistry of the milk altered. Milk is also known to contain bacteria, antibiotics, pesticides, hormones, dioxins, Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) and many such harmful substances, because the animals the milk is derived from, are grain-fed (high in Omega-6) and have disease-causing substances.
Good organic milk, at all times, contain some bacteria, that generally come from the faeces of the cow and tainted by teats and the udder. The machines used for milking may also contaminate the milk and indeed once collected, milk can further get contaminated by environmental microorganisms. Additionally, inappropriately refrigerated, bacteria can multiply quickly in the milk.
Cow’s milk is said to have plenty of phosphorous which deters the absorption of calcium. The milk of a cow is acknowledged to contain about 1200mg of calcium per quart while that of a person has 300. Nevertheless, a baby assimilates far more calcium from a quart of human milk than from that of a cow. In other words, our bodies are incapable of using the huge amounts of calcium found in cow’s milk. Since you will be unable to use this large body of milk, it might, therefore, bring about gout, atheroma, or form kidney stones. In a grotesque twist of actions, milk may actually deprive bones of calcium because the protein in it forms strong acids which may be detrimental. That forces the body to use calcium available in our bones to neutralise the strong acids, consequently depriving the bones of calcium and promoting osteoporosis or bones becoming weak and brittle.
Most people are allergic to milk, (and to be specific, lactose intolerant) and its related products. The sugar in the milk is what is known as a disaccharide called lactose, and is only found in lactating mammals. Lactose has glucose and galactose. No other food contains lactose except milk of the mammals, apart from a few exceptions. When lactose is consumed in milk, it ought to be broken-down into its two monosaccharides before it can be used by the body. Lactase is the enzyme that breaks down the lactose in milk, found in the walls of the intestines and highly concentrated in that section of the small intestines, known as the jejunum.
Studies show that lactase activity first emerges in the bowel region of babies just before birth. During digestion, once the lactose reaches the colon undigested, bacteria ferment it and convert it to lactic acid, carbon dioxide and water. The combination of water and gas may bring about belching, bloating and possibly diarrhoea. With time passage, most mammals eventually lose the activity of lactase enzyme in the intestine as they mature. This mostly takes place once milk feeding stops. People are no exception in this respect.
When human beings develop allergies to milk, it puts a burden on their immunity and make them vulnerable to infections. Milk is associated with some types of diabetes and autoimmune disorders, that affect both adults and children. Casein, a protein found in milk, is said to be an extraordinary strong promoter of cancer and Dr. Raymond Francis calls milk a liquid meat. With the foregoing in mind, milk is highly interconnected with chronicity of diseases and we should try by all means to avoid it as much as possible.
And recent indications from cohort studies and meta-reviews of epidemiological research, show that the extensive eating of meat (especially red meat) and predominantly highly refined or processed ones, is linked to a heightened risk of death from type 2 diabetes, stroke, heart disease and cancer of the colon, in both women and men. The consumption of processed and red meats has been linked with a high incidence of many chronic diseases.
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