The saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Unpacking that statement is fairly simple––it takes far less effort to keep a disease from happening than it takes to fix it once it has started.
In a nation where people are diagnosed with preventable diseases left and right, this saying holds special meaning.
Diseases like heart disease, diabetes and cancer are rampant. While genetics are known to play a role, in many cases, these diseases are known as “lifestyle” diseases, meaning the factors in your every day life, such as diet, exercise, stress control and proper sleep––all the elements that make up your lifestyle––can play a role in those diseases’ incidence. And these disease are very, very hard to cure. So hard, in fact, that studying them with the intention of finding a cure has turned into a multi-billion dollar enterprise.
If the wrong lifestyle lends one to developing those diseases, the right lifestyle should help prevent those problems. What does that lifestyle look like?
Unilaterally, we know exercise is an important component of a healthy lifestyle. The most basic recommendation starts at 30 minutes a few times a week of something as simple as walking. We know exercise plays a role in preventing disease. (Be sure to consult your physician before beginning an exercise routine.
Stress reduction and management is important for healthy lifestyle. Mitigating the stress in one’s life is key to a healthy lifestyle. Exercise can help mitigate that, as well getting proper rest. The addition of daily quite time, meditation or prayer has been shown to reduce stress. Taking time away from work or cultivating a hobby can also aid in stress reduction. We know that stress reduction can help prevent disease.
Sleep is something everyone needs, but few of us seem to get enough of it. However, we know that getting enough sleep every night is a vital part of stress mitigation and overall health. Making sleep a priority is an important part of a healthy lifestyle and key to preventing disease.
Finally, the importance of diet can’t be understated in the quest for good health. With so much confusion about diet swirling around, what does a healthy diet really look like?
A healthy diet would definitely include lots of vegetables and fruits. In addition to providing important macronutrients, such as protein, fiber and healthy fats, these contain powerful, proven, disease-fighting vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. Since we know sugar can play a role in poor health, the sweeter varieties of fruits may be ones to avoid or enjoy in moderation.
Protein is critical for a healthy diet. Therefore, eggs, nuts, and minimally processed organic meats would be a good option for a healthy diet. Meats raised in a natural way––i.e., grass-fed beef––are known to contain higher amounts of healthy fats, such as Omega 3s. Healthy fats are known to be critical for cardiovascular health, so a healthy diet would also include nuts, seeds, avocados, fish and oils such as olive oil.
A healthy diet would perhaps include probiotics––good bacteria found in yogurt and other certain foods––to help repair any damage done to the intestinal terrain by poor diet, lifestyle or antibiotics.
A healthy diet would also exclude as many toxic compounds that commonly make it into our food supply. These include certain kinds of preservatives, flavoring agents and hydrogenated fats. It would also exclude added sugar. This takes most processed foods out of the diet. Less commonly recommended is the avoidance of mycotoxins, which can wreak havoc on human health, but commonly contaminated foods such as corn, grains, peanuts, pistachios and alcohol.
This diet––one which might aid in the prevention of disease– is, in a nutshell, is the Phase One Diet.
Disease is much easier to prevent than it is to cure once it takes hold. For more information on disease prevention, lifestyle, and diet, visit our book store.