Staying Young and Well With Food

The typical “Western diet” is a blessing and a curse. According to the Surgeon General’s Report on Nutrition and Health, diet-related diseases account for 68 percent of all deaths in this country. It is wonderful that we have such a large variety of foods that are reasonably priced, easy to prepare, contain basic nutrients and taste good. It is a curse however, for almost the same reasons. Our convenient access to a large variety of foods makes it easy for us to choose only those foods we like, not necessarily those the body needs. Many foods that are most convenient have been processed for us but are not providing the nutritional balance the body needs in order to maintain good health and its youthful state.

A proper diet is one that helps keep the body clean and functioning well on the inside. Those foods are high in fiber and roughage, contain lots of water, and little refined sugar, salt or saturated fats. High fiber foods are breads, cereal, rice, beans and pastas. Roughage includes fresh vegetables and fruit.

The body needs brushes to scrub and loosen residue, which helps prevent build up. Fiber helps propel wastes through the digestive tract and safely out of the colon. A secret to youthful skin and more energy is to expel wastes out of the body as soon as possible, not giving it the opportunity to do excess cell damage, show age lines, or settle in the joints.Three or four servings of fiber each day is ideal for the body.

Fruits and vegetables are two other key foods that help maintain youthfulness. The chlorophyll, vitamins and minerals found in these foods support the immune system and helps fight off foreign invaders. They strengthen the body and provide what is needed for proper cell growth and repair. They help cleanse the blood and destroy free radicals in the body primarily through essential vitamins C, E, and A. Five to six servings of fresh fruit and vegetables a day is ideal for the body.

Does this mean that one must become a vegetarian in order to look youthful and maintain good health? No, but it does mean that a conscious effort must be made to provide the body with the foods it needs to perform the cleaning, scrubbing and disinfecting tasks in order to stay healthy. Animal protein is consumed excessively in this country. Let meat (or fish) be a side dish instead of the focal point.

A diet that provides a low intake of plant foods contributes to the rapid development of diseases and provides conditions that cause these diseases to advance. A diet rich in plant foods (whole grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables) protects against early aging and many diseases that are extremely common in Western society.

While this is not new information, one of the tangible benefits realized from eating properly is a more youthful look. Many of us spend time and money applying cosmetic antidotes to mask the premature signs of aging. What we all ready know about healthy eating is the secret to help us stay young and well!