By Philip S. Chua, MD.
Amidst this killer pandemic of COVID-19, a positive frame of mind and a healthy attitude are good preventive weapons against SARS-CoV2 virus on top of good personal hygiene and behavior, wearing a mask, avoiding crowds, and doing social distancing.
The data, as of 4:38 PM, CST, September 8, 2020: Global – Cases: deaths: 27,716.807, with 900,763 deaths; The Philippines: 241,987, with 3196 deaths; and the USA – 6,511,537, with 193,955 deaths, with these 6 States topping the list: California, 743,737, deaths – 13,815; Texas, 671,975, deaths – 13, 857; Florida, 650, 092, deaths – 11,919; New York, 473,078, deaths-33,100; Georgia, 285,630, deaths – 6,070; and Illinois, 254,281, deaths – 8,405.
Here are 14 habits, behaviors, strategy for a healthy lifestyle to achieve and maintain good health and possible maximal longevity. This disciplined attitude and decorum help protect our DNA, therefore minimizing the risk for the development of major illnesses like high blood pressure, T2 diabetes, heart attack, stroke, Alzheimer’s, and even cancer.
As we stressed in the book, Let’s Stop “Killing” Our Children, the best timing in protecting the DNA starts in the womb and dieting begins in the crib, for the prevention of genetic defects and future illnesses and health problems.
- Less Alcohol, More Tea
Alcohol is the cause of more than one third of all the illnesses known to man, directly or indirectly, including some forms of cancer. The same is true with the deadly effects of tobacco, which kills 8 million people each year around the world. Tea, on the other hand, especially the green variety, is a well-known antioxidant that is good for the body, in more ways than one. Coffee is also a good anti-oxidant.
- Less Meat, More Vegetables
Red meat (pork, beef, etc), like the yellow yolk of the egg, is high in saturated fats and cholesterol. The medical literature is replete with countless studies that prove saturated fats and cholesterol are the prime causes of arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) that lead to arterial blockages, heart attack and stroke, and even cancers, like cancer of the colon. Vegetables, on the other hand, contain phyto-chemical anti-oxidants that protect the cellular structures of the body, strengthen our immune system, not to mention providing the fiber and roughage our gastrointestinal system needs to ward of cancer of the colon. Vegetarians, in general, have lower risks of developing heart attack, stroke and cancer.
- Less Salt, More Vinegar
We eat too much salt today. And excess salt raises our blood pressure and causes our body to swell up, inside and outside, no matter how subtle or undetectable this may be. Low-salt diet, in general, is good for us. Before putting the salt-shaker into action, taste the food first. Chances are we do not need more salt. And easy on the salty condiments also. The impact of excess salt on our cardiovascular system is adverse, even if we are healthy. You can imagine what it does to those with high blood pressure and other cardiovascular diseases. Vinegar is a better alternative to salt, if the salt substitute (potassium) does not appeal to you. Vinegar also prevents spikes (the sudden rise and fluctuation) of blood insulin and glucose level after a meal, even among healthy people, and more so among diabetics. Vinegar itself, or as a salad dressing (oil and vinegar) or even in pickled vegetables, have been found to help in weight reduction, besides in diabetes control.
- Less Sugar, More Fresh Fruit
Low carbohydrate diet is in, for better health. Less sugar, less sweets (no soft drinks, minimal candies, ice cream, rice, bread, cakes, etc) is better. This is medically proven. Most of our food and food products, which basically contain protein and vegetables, also have carbohydrates in them. So, eating meals with two only tablespoon full of rice, or even without rice, is healthier for us. The more carbo we eat, the greater the chances of gaining weight and developing diabetes. Fresh fruits provide fructose, the healthier form of sugar, and also give us fiber, which is beneficial to our colon in the prevention of GI diseases, like cancers. Diabetics will have to consult with their physician/dietician when adding fruits to their diabetic diet regimen.
- Less Eating, More Chewing
Most of us eat more than we should. My former mentor when I was in medical school, Dr. Fe Del Mundo, a greatly respective and renowned Filipina international icon in Pediatrics, who is now 94 and still practicing in her hospital in Quezon City, told me her “secret” for health and longevity: “Push yourself away from the table a little less than full.” This might sound overly simplistic or even impertinent, but she is right. Medical science has shown that people in general today eat more than what the body needs to stay healthy, and that eating less than what we consider “enough” is a better strategy to health. We really eat too much. This is why there are more than 300,000 diabetics in the Philippines and more than 18.2 million among Americans. Chewing the food well is a healthier habit than gobbling the food down in a hurry. And drinking a lot of water before each meal, or while eating, is also a great way to control our appetite and our weight.
- Less Couch, More Exercise
A couch potato “addict” holding the remote control, watching the television, munching on carbos is a most likely target for obesity, diabetes, hypertension, heart attack and stroke. The human body was made to be physically active, for better performance and efficiency in the maintenance of good health and well-being. The more exercise we reasonably do daily, starting from our teenage years, the better is our health. This explains why athletes, in general, are well-conditioned, fit, and healthy, even when they reach their 80s and 90s, physically and emotionally.
The following are the additional 8 simplified ways to help attain good health, which are not only philosophical but scientifically proven to be medically sound in the successful pursuit of physical, mental, and emotional health:
- Less Driving, More Walking
- Less Words, More Action
- Less Greed, More Giving
- Less Politics, More Religion
- Less Worry, More Sleep
- Less Frown, More Smiles
- Less Crying, More laughter
- Less Anger, More Love.
The common denominator in all these 14 is Love. If we love our body, our family, our fellowmen, including strangers around the globe, we can achieve better health, greater happiness, and reach our natural maximum potential longevity and, maybe, hopefully, possibly, also attain world peace.