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How to Prevent Disease


The Western medicine ideology of disease prevention is not prevention at all, its early detection medicine, and while that’s not a terrible thing because knowing what’s going on in your body is awesome, Western medicine is very good at giving a name to a disease and treating the symptoms of it. After all, high cholesterol is not due to the lack of statins in the body. High cholesterol is caused by too much sugar in the body, just as diabetes is.


Many years ago, when I was in nutrition school I was taught and still hold on to the ideology that real prevention is teaching people how to stay well, and how to make lifestyle choices that promote health and resilience, so no one gets sick. It's not waiting for disease to happen and then treating it, even if it's early.


One of the reasons Western medicine falls short in preventing disease is because it evolved during a time when acute infectious diseases were the primary cause of suffering and death. Back then, new antibiotics were developed and had miraculous results. However, infectious diseases are not as prevalent today, and the problems we face are chronic and cannot be traced to a single cause but may have many factors that may be contributing to them.


Whether you are healthy or have a disease is not black or white. It’s very rare that you just come down with a disease. There are usually months or even years of dysfunction, discomfort, pain or illness before the disease itself becomes apparent. It’s like the brake pads on your car. They don’t just suddenly fail, there are years of wear and tear on them before they fail. The same thing happens with your body.


It’s important to see symptoms as warning signs to an underlying imbalance in the body, they’re telling us that something isn’t right. In Western medicine the next thing that will happen is to suppress the symptoms with drugs instead of looking into the cause of the symptoms. What we should really be doing is changing our diet and lifestyle habits to address the root cause. The symptom is the warning sign.


Next time you're dealing with an unpleasant issue, like heartburn, for example, don't just take an antacid and call it a day. Instead, try to see what's causing he heartburn. Is it something you're eating or drinking? Or is there an imbalance in the good and bad bacteria in your gut? Be your own health detective!


Our bodies can heal themselves, it does it all the time, we just don’t notice it. When you cut yourself, your body sends healing nutrients to the area and the cut heals after a few days. When healing does not occur, we need to try to figure out if something is preventing or obstructing our healing system. Another example—if a food or foods are causing inflammation, until we remove the foods that are causing the inflammation, the body can’t calibrate and start to heal itself.


We have a lot more control over how we age, and what diseases we contract than we think. Most of us believe that many of the common diseases of today, like high blood pressure, heart disease, arthritis, adult-onset diabetes, stroke, cancer, etc., are the inevitable consequences of bad genes and normal aging. But we now know that this is not necessarily true. We can work with our genes to prevent disease and create optimal health.


Less than 2% of your genes cannot be changed, which means that 98% of your genes can be modified—and these genes are influenced by diet, lifestyle, and environment.


The science of nutrigenomics shows how food talks to our genes and how our genes express themselves after the conversation. This new science confirms that food provides important information that directly influences the changes that occur in our cells and modifies the risk of common chronic diseases.


Research in this area of science have proven, over and over again, that there is so much more to real, whole foods than just the nutrients we’ve been counting and denigrating for so many years. Real, whole foods are packed with thousands of compounds that have a complex and dynamic relationship with each other and your genes.


In processed foods, these nutrients are altered or missing, which means they will never deliver the same message to your genes as real whole foods. Just as a computer won’t function with bad data, neither will your body.


Food is complex information that the body uses to direct the multifaceted actions that keep us vibrantly alive and young. Consuming junk food is like taking the fast lane to a giant system failure. Consuming foods with as few ingredients as possible, with ingredients that you recognize as food and avoiding foods with ingredients you can’t pronounce is a great rule of thumb to follow.


Your body responds to food-like substances as it does to anything “foreign” in the body, with an inflammatory response as your body tries to protect itself. Over time, continually consuming these types of foods can lead to the low-grade chronic inflammation, energy dysfunction, and hormonal imbalances. These are the precursors to disease, but these can also be reversed if caught and addressed early enough. This is how we prevent disease.


The healthiest foods don’t have labels. These should make up the bulk of your diet.


As you can see the food you eat affects the functioning of your genes, which play a huge role in determining whether you will develop a disease or not. So, consuming a diet high in real healthy foods is the best disease prevention we have available.


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