Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Repairing the Body, Mind, Soul

In May of 2012, I had a personal health problem whereby I couldn't walk 10 feet without stopping to catch my breath. I reluctantly went to the local ER and was soon admitted (after a couple of tests) into the Fulton County Hospital with congestive heart failure and blood clots on my lungs.

After about 10 days, I was released but still didn't feel very well. I was now on blood thinners and other medications.

After a few months of lethargic misery, unable to do much physically and in a state of anxiety, it became obvious that I had to do something on my own to get out of this rut. Thus, I embarked on a self-made diet to get to a proper weight and slowly began to do physical exercises and chores to build my energy back up. In this process, I have managed to lose 75 pounds so far (a few more to go) in about 12-13 months and have significantly more stamina than before. I'm still working on it and am now in a lifestyle pattern I intend to continue even after reaching my goals.

During the course of my self-imposed rehab process, I did a lot of research about foods and illnesses, including afflictions unrelated to my condition.

It's almost impossible to research causes of illnesses without learning a great deal about cancer. It was not my intention to delve into this subject but I do have family and friends dealing with this problem.

Dr. Otto Warburg, one of the leading biochemists in the 20th century, devoted his life to the study of the causes of cancer. His research made it clear that normal cells require oxygen, whereas cells deprived of oxygen may become cancerous. He found that cancer cells cannot survive in the presence of high levels of oxygen. Thus, he determined that too much acidity in the body is the root cause of cancer. In 1931, he won a Nobel Prize in Medicine for this important discovery.

"Cancerous tissues are acidic, whereas healthy tissues are alkaline… Deprive a cell 35% of its oxygen for 48 hours and it may become cancerous." Dr. Otto Warburg

A person's pH balance (potential hydrogen) measures the bodily level of acidity versus alkaline -- the lower the pH balance, the more an acidic state exists. According to Warburg, the proper pH balance (normal state) is 7.365. He concluded there was a direct correlation between pH and oxygen.

Many other sources also concur with this concept.

"There is clearly a strong correlation between body fluid pH and the level of health of disease of the individual… Acid states appear in people with acute and chronic inflammatory and pain syndromes, congestive disorders that include recurrent infections and allergies, and the degenerative diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular problems, and diabetes." Dr. Elson M. Haas, M.D. (founder and director of the Preventive Medical Center of Marin, California)

As with most medical remedies, there are a variety of opinions among seemingly credible sources, including considerable skepticism among health professionals concerning the pH balance approach to cancer (and other maladies). Medical professionals often disagree about potential treatments. Plus, everyone has a different physiology -- what works for Person A may not work for Person B. Obviously, you must do your own research and consult a doctor you trust.

About 15 years ago, I was visiting friends in another state when I needed to see a physician about a minor matter, whereby my friends sent me to their local physician. During the course of the exam, I told the doctor that I had changed my dietary habits several months earlier, whereupon he said, "What does your diet have to do with your health?" At first, I assumed he was making a joke. But when I learned he was serious, I figured I would be better off making a graceful exit and seeking a second opinion from a Voodoo Shaman with a bag of chicken feet and a vile of bat blood.

Since my recent hospital ordeal, I have acquired many books about health. One of the books I use for reference is HEALTHY FOODS by James A. Duke, PhD, former director of the Cancer Screening Program (funded by the National Cancer Institute).

The following is a list of a dozen foods he refers to as "Duke's Dozen" -- his 12 greatest disease-fighting foods." The explanations are much more lengthy -- I summarized them below.

1) Beans

Low in fat, high in protein, an alternative to red meat. Loaded with soluble fiber, thus proficient at washing cholesterol out of the system through the intestines. Contain high levels of isoflavones, which may prevent some forms of cancer, improve prostate and bone health, ease symptoms of menopause, and other benefits.

2) Bulbs (garlic, onion)

Garlic contains sulfur compounds, such as diallyl disulfide, which prevents blood clotting. Also contains over a dozen immunity-boasting compounds to help ward off colds and infections. Onions also contain some of the same sulfur compounds. Plus, they have high amounts of flavonoids, particularly quercetin which has been shown to reduce platelet bunching and even prevent some forms of cancer.

3) Caffeinators (coffee, tea, chocolate)

The active compounds in coffee, tea, chocolate are polyphenols, such as theobromine and theophylline, which are excellent antioxidants that ward off free radicals, fighting heart disease and cancer. They also improve mood and alertness. Chocolate has unique polyphenols that increase levels of a brain chemical called dopamine, promoting pleasure.

4) Celery

Celery has an anti-inflammatory called apigenin, which helps lower cholesterol levels and blood pressure, and fights gout. It also contains acetylenics, phenolic acids, and coumarins which may be cancer fighters. According to the index of HEALTHY FOODS, celery is helpful with bad breath, bladder infections, bursitis, fungal infections, gout, hay fever, high blood pressure, indigestion, memory loss, menopausal symptoms and pneumonia.

BB NOTE: There are foods that have a negative calorie count whereby you burn more calories by eating them than the food contains, called "thermic" vegetables. Depending on your gender, weight and level of activity, the human body requires 150-250 calories to digest your food. If you eat an item that has a caloric content of 100 calories or less, you will actually burn more calories than you consume. Celery is a thermic vegetable, great for dieting.

5) Cinnamon

Cinnamon contains a flavonoid compound called methylhydroxy chalcone polymer (a.k.a. MHCP) which is an antioxidant that appears to activate insulin receptors inside the cells and may also aid in lowering cholesterol levels.

6) Citrus Fruits

There are some 200 anti-carcinogenic compounds in citrus fruits. They're loaded with vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant, and contain a soluble fiber called pectin which lowers cholesterol and subdues inflammation.

7) Ginger

Ginger is loaded with COX-2 inhibitors, strong anti-inflammatory compounds which inhibit a specific pain-causing enzyme in the body. It's also helpful in dealing with motion sickness or morning sickness.

8) Mints

There are over 70 varieties in this category, including peppermint, spearmint, rosemary, basil, thyme, oregano, sage, lavender, lemon balm. Many of them sooth the stomach (in tea form) and many of them stimulate the central nervous system. They're loaded with healthy-heart antioxidant compounds. Some are "uppers," such as peppermint and spearmint. Some have sedative effects, such as lavender and lemon balm.

9) Peppers

Chili peppers contain a compound called capsaicin, which increases endorphins (internal pain killers) and improves circulation -- they help with weight loss, stomach protection, cold treatment, arthritis pain. Sweet peppers are antioxidants that can ward off heart disease.

10) Pomegranates

Rich in antioxidants, they fight cholesterol and heart disease. They also contain phytoestrogens which help women with menopause symptoms.  They may also help in treating obesity and diabetes.

11) Turmeric (Curry)

Many people treat osteoarthritis with turmeric, which has a high concentration of a COX-2 inhibitor called curcumin. It also has compounds that prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine which may help to prevent mental deterioration.

12) Walnuts

They contain healthy monounsaturated fats, omega-3 fatty acids, fiber and protein, particularly arginine. They are a good source of a neurotransmitter called serotonin, which aids in brain function and also helps to curb the appetite.

* * *

When you lay in a hospital bed for many days, not knowing if you will ever walk back out the door, you tend to dwell on your life and beyond.

Human beings are a combination of body, mind and soul. Repairing the body is only one aspect of well-rounded existence.

The mind also needs occasional repair. In this crazy world, we must cope with fear, anxiety, doubt, depression, greed, lust, envy, gluttony and other forms of negativity. Getting your mind straight can often be a more daunting task than getting your body in proper working order. A fearless, positive attitude will help keep your head screwed on and your outlook will become peachy keen.

The grand struggle in this dimension may deal with the salvation of our soul (inner spirit) -- seeking, discovering and aligning with a righteous path, a quest for internal peace and eternal bliss.

Stay strong, be cool -- life is good.

Quote for the Day -- "Beware of reading health books -- you may die of a misprint." Mark Twain

Bret Burquest is the author of 9 books. He lives in the Ozark Mountains with a dog named Buddy Lee and is so far over the hill that he's started up the next one.

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