-Minus Points in our health account

-Minus points which are exceeding the +plus points destroy our balance = creating more oxidative stress

There are different factors which influence our health. Besides the fact that we can not change our genetic disposition, we can influence our health through a health oriented lifestyle and proper nutrition.
Consuming too much salt can harm our health. It can increase our risk of high blood pressure as well as the risk of stomach cancer. So be aware and read the ingredients when you eat ready made foods. The best is of course to reach for more healthy foods like fruits and veggies, whole grain products and legumes.

-Minus points are accumulated through unhealthy lifestyles and environment. If -minus points exceed the +plus points in our health account, we are heading towards poor health.

Free radicals (-minus points) are destructive oxygen molecules that are produced within the body through normal metabolic processes, or outside the body from sources such as cigarette smoke. Free radicals pass through breathing and through our food in the body.

The body's defense mechanism against these free radicals are referred to as antioxidants. Diets rich in fruit and vegetables are a good source of antioxidants which are vital for good health. When the amount of antioxidants in our body is insufficient to battle with the free radicals, it will affect our health in a negative way.

Environmental strain causing free radicals in our bodies:
* Exhaust and fumes coming from transportation and industry
* Herbicides, pesticides
* Cigarette smoke (one cigarette causes thousands of free radicals)
* Medicines

Negative stress factors which can cause free radicals:
Social and personal problems:
* Negative stress
* Conflicts with people at work, with friends, partner and/or family
* Worries
* Dissatisfaction
* Illness, trauma
* Loss of a loved one through death or other
* Loss of job

Unhealthy food sources causing free radicals:
* Too much saturated fats and animal protein
* Too much sugar and sweetened soft drinks
* Too many empty calories
* Too many nutrient deficient fast foods and ready made foods
* Too much alcohol

About alcohol: Some evidence links moderate consumption of alcohol (that’s less than 2 drinks a day for men, and 1 for women) to lower risk for heart disease. But If you’re concerned about cancer, even small amounts of alcohol of any kind should be avoided, according to the AICR (American Institute for Cancer Research) Second Expert Report.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has published a new report of the Surgeon General, dated December 9, 2010: "How Tobacco Smoke Causes Disease" It is a 700 pages report and explains all the reasons why we should not smoke or stop smoking today.

"How much smoking is safe?" The answer is in a Surgeon General's report – "just inhaling one puff from one cigarette raises the risk of sickness and death. The report looked at what in smoking causes death. There are lots of causes, including cancer, heart disease, stroke and emphysema. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin has an example that reaches right into your cells: ``When inhaling even the smallest amount of tobacco smoke, the chemicals damage your DNA, which can lead to cancer.'' (6 seconds) Dr. Benjamin says tobacco also weakens your ability to fight cancer. And she says tobacco's damage is immediate. The chemicals reach into your lungs as soon as you inhale, and then get carried by your blood vessels to every organ in your body. And the blood vessels get damaged, too."
(Ref: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Dec.22,2010) And always remember – do not smoke or chew tobacco

The Medical News Today from Aug 2011 says:
"The atmosphere around and above us is full of material of organic origin, a significant amount being bacteria, including those that cause disease in plants and animals. Some of them also cause or trigger human diseases, including asthma and seasonal allergies."
(Ref:MedicalNewsToday21 Aug 2011 - 2:00 PDT)

If we want healthier children we have to make sure our kids learn to "like" basic foods like vegetables rather than ready-made meals. We have to make sure they like drinking water instead of sweetened sodas.
" More than 23 million American children are overweight or obese, according to government estimates, and many more children are at risk. Overweight kids face serious health problems that were unheard of in childhood just a generation ago, including type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and even stroke before they're adults."
(Ref:MedlinePlus December 27, 2012)

In 2012 New York City has made the first step towards better health: Mayor Michael Bloomberg's steps are aimed at improving the diets of children (and adults). He proposed a ban on most sugary drinks, such as soda and fruit drinks, larger than 16 ounces that are sold in the city. According to the proposal, "with every additional sugary beverage a child drinks daily, his/her odds of becoming obese increase by 60 percent."
(Ref:MedlinePlus December 27, 2012)

Too many free radicals can harm or destroy our cells. This is why it is important that we need to manage our health continuously.

How can we participate in good health management? Our responsibility needs to focus on a healthy lifestyle in order to combat the free radicals. We need to make sure we are getting enough +plus points by learning and implementing how to minimize and deal with stress, by getting adequate physical exercise and adding enough antioxidants by eating nutrient dense foods including the suggested 5-9 servings of fruits and veggies every day. This way we can add +plus points to our cellular protection and we can keep our health account at a balanced level. Our goal should be that the + Plus Points will top the -Minus Points in our health account and thus we reach an optimal level of cell protection.

The UICC (International Union Against Cancer) says that we all have to watch our lifestyle. We have to see to it that we eat healthy foods and get enough exercise. Nutrient deficient food, not enough exercise and overweight are the cause of one third of all cancers.

"Today's children, tomorrow's world" – prevent cancer with healthy habits! states the UICC.

In the American Institute for Cancer Research update from May 2010 we can read:
"Unhealthy Behaviors Can Cut Years off Life"

"Four lifestyle habits – smoking, lack of physical activity, poor diet and alcohol consumption – may shave 12 years off a person's life, according to a report in the Archives of Internal Medicine .

Conducted in the United Kingdom, the study included almost 5,000 participants. One point was allocated for each of the following behaviors: smoking; eating fruits and vegetables less than three times daily; getting fewer than two hours physical activity weekly; and drinking more than 14 units of alcohol weekly for women, and more than 21 units for men. (About 8 drinks weekly for a woman; 12 drinks for men.)

After an average of 20 years follow-up, the study found that individuals with four compared with zero poor health behaviors had about three times the risk of dying prematurely of cardiovascular disease or cancer and four times the risk of dying from other causes. The risk of premature death from all causes and from each cause increased with each additional poor behavior."
(Ref: AICR Cancer Research Update Issue 42, May 5, 2010)

The message is clear: We can improve our health by living a healthy lifestyle!

Remember, it is our choice if we smoke, what kind of food we eat and what we drink as well as it is our choice if we get enough exercise. Given serious thought, we clearly can get rid of some -Minus Points.

And last but not least, we should keep in mind that we are setting examples for our children in everything we do and do not do!

Also: Nothing is impossible, we all can change our habits for the better and start with it TODAY!

I wish you success in your health management! I know you can do it!
-By the way: The very last cigarette I smoked was in March 1983!-

P.S.:**The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease.
-Thomas Edison-

Last update January 2016.

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© 2006-2016 Walburga Ratti