Millions Get Sick in These Four Preventable Ways
This is the third in my three-part series based on my recently published paperback edition of Real Cause, Real Cure: The 9 root causes of the most common health problems and how to solve them (Rodale, August 2012), which I co-authored with Bill Gottlieb, CHC, a bestselling health author and certified health coach.
In this issue, I'd like to tell you about the final four "real causes" featured in my book: 1) hormonal imbalances, 2) digestive difficulties, 3) cellular toxicity, and 4) excessive inflammation. And once again, I offer simple and natural solutions to help you optimize your health.
Real Cause #6: Hormonal Imbalances
Hormonal imbalances (an under- or overproduction of the chemical messengers manufactured by the endocrine system) can cause many different health problems, including fatigue, overweight, anxiety, depression and irritability, insomnia, weak immunity (with frequent infections that are hard to kick), chronic joint and muscle pain, heart disease and diabetes. And, of course, CFS and fibromyalgia.
Unfortunately, most conventional doctors don't accurately diagnose or treat hormonal imbalances and deficiencies — particularly sub-optimal levels of thyroid, adrenal and reproductive hormones. Often, the problem has to be so severe as to be literally life threatening before routine testing picks it up.
Optimizing each hormone requires its own approach, with accurate testing and safe solutions. But a few key lifestyle changes can help you keep your hormones on an even keel.
Get enough sleep, a must for healthy levels of insulin, adrenal and other hormones. To balance insulin and cortisol, eat a diet rich in slow-digesting whole foods, with small amounts of high-protein foods throughout the day (called "grazing"). Take a high potency multivitamin powder to make sure your nutritional bases are covered. Numerous nutrients are needed to optimize hormone function, including B Vitamins, C, D, Selenium, iodine, chromium and tyrosine.
Want to give your adrenal stress handler a rest? When you're worried, take a deep breath and ask yourself, "Am I in imminent danger?" The answer is almost always no, and simply realizing this can help you relax!
Real Cause #7: Digestive Difficulties
An estimated 50% of all Americans (150 million people) have at least one digestive problem, including heartburn, indigestion, irritable bowel syndrome, food allergies, gallstones and constipation — and these can cause and complicate many other health problems. That's because poor digestion decreases the absorption of health-giving nutrients; causes you to take more prescription drugs, which carry their own health risks; and can fill people with toxins, as poorly digested foods sit in the intestinal tract and rot.
Eat more fiber (a bowl of high-fiber cereal at breakfast is a great idea). Dry mouth and lips suggest dehydration, so drink enough water to keep them moist. Exercise regularly, which helps tone your bowels, too. When eating, sip warm liquid rather than cold, because cold drinks slow the effectiveness of digestive enzymes, inhibiting digestion. Eat more whole fruits and vegetables, which are rich in the enzymes that aid digestion. Meanwhile, we'll teach you to optimize digestion from the moment you put food in your mouth (and even before) to … well … when it comes out "the other end."
Real Cause #8: Cellular Toxicity
It's a basic and natural part of the process of being alive. You take in what you need, and you get rid of what you don't. And for the most part, what you get rid of are toxins, stuff that your body can't use and that can cause disease if it hangs around.
The body is well designed to naturally detoxify in many different ways, using the liver and digestive tract, along with the kidneys, skin, and lungs.
But the toxic 21st century — with its more than 80,000 synthetic chemicals — delivers more toxins than the body can handle. Recent research links higher blood and tissue levels of "persistent organic pollutants" to cancer, heart disease, diabetes and even obesity. Meanwhile, poor digestion and constipation along with bowel bacterial overgrowth adds to our body's toxic load.
A good rule is "If you can't read it, don't eat it." If there are several ingredients on a food label that are virtually unreadable, don't eat that food. Take a good multi- vitamin and mineral supplement, which helps provide the nutrients that aid natural detoxification. Drink plenty of water to wash out toxins as well. Another helpful tool? Use a sauna regularly, to sweat out toxins. An excellent new sauna technology is available from SunLighten.com.
Real Cause #9: Excessive Immune Activity and Swelling
A healthy immune system responds to an infection or injury by rushing white blood cells to the area, which becomes swollen, red, hot and painful. This is part of healthy defense and healing on your body's part. But when it becomes excessive, that immune hyperactivity goes on and on, and can eventually damage tissues. It's actually a significant factor in nearly every chronic disease, including heart disease, cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer's, arthritis and many others.
Eat more fish, like salmon, tuna or mackerel. Learn tricks to maintain a positive attitude, which calms your immune system. Use herbs, like curcumin and boswellia , which balance immune function.
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