If a drug was released which reduced your chances of getting cancer by one in three it would be a genuine blockbuster drug. Sales would be huge. Everyone would want to be on it. Such a discovery would be front-page news.
The London based World Cancer Research Fund has shown that one in three cancers can be avoided. It was not by taking a pill. Perhaps if it was this story would have been on the front page. If it was a pill perhaps everyone would be lining up to take it
So what was this discovery?
The report has once again highlighted the importance of simple lifestyle measures that you can apply everyday. It estimates that one third of cancers are related to poor diet and nutrition and lack of physical activity.
In other words by being on a healthy diet, getting enough essential vitamins and minerals and being physically active, your chances of getting cancer can be reduced by one third. This is apart from lower rates of heart disease and stroke that also comes from maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly.
Here is an interesting statistic from the Journal of the American Medical Association “Since 1960, US expenditures have shifted from spending 2.7 times more on food than health care ($74 billion vs $27 billion) to spending 2 times more on health care than food ($2.5 trillion vs $1.25 trillion).Despite significant increases in health care spending, obesity and diabetes mellitus rates have increased dramatically.”
This relative change will be similar in many other countries.
This week a New York court overturned the proposed ban on selling sodas larger than 16oz (450ml). To be honest in my view it is not the role of government to nanny people. Bans like this tell people it is the government’s role to protect us from ourselves – it is not.
It is our responsibility to manage our health. In 1960 you could not buy a soda of 64oz and the world spun quite happily. There is no need for such a sized drink. It is the responsibility of the individual to choose not to buy it.
If we spent just a little bit more on good quality food we would save a lot on disease costs. And healthy food is not that expensive. Fruits and vegetables in season are cheap in terms of the nutrition you get for your dollar. Water is the cheapest drink. Legumes are also very cheap. Meat fish and poultry cost a bit more but you don not need to eat these every day.
Much effort goes into avoiding disease. It can seem like an obstacle course. A better approach is to focus on being healthy. It is important to be aware that avoiding disease is in fact the result of a focus on being healthy. So what are the basics of being healthy?
1) Eating foods that the body requires in the right amounts
2) Drinking enough water. This means around 30ml per kilogram body weight per day
3) Being active on a regular basis. This means at least 30mins 4 times a week
4) Getting the right amount of sleep. This means an average of eight hours per night for most people
5) Manage your stress. This means doing things that you enjoy and find relaxing. It can include taking up things like yoga or meditation
Ok, so most of you reading this are saying to yourself “I already know all this.” There is an old Zen saying “To know and not to do is not yet to know.” The question then becomes how many of you really “know” this.
By applying these basic principles of DIY Health the body can attain optimal health. By being healthy it becomes less likely that you will develop any form of disease. It also means that you will have the energy and vitality to enjoy and get the most out of your life each day.
What are you going to do (know) today to improve your health?