Friday, August 27, 2010
Families grow stronger when individual members maintain healthy life styles. My extended family has battled heart problems for many years and diabetes in recent years. Cancer raised its ugly head in my family less than eight years ago when my older brother died of colon cancer before his test results were back. Since that time, another brother battled bladder cancer, a niece went through surgery and treatments for breast cancer, and a nephew battled skin cancer as well as having a large growth removed from his jaw. Genes play a big role in whether or not we develop diseases, but there are behavior influences as well. "Live a healthy life style" is the basic and simple counsel from experts in the medical field. The simple facts show that a healthy body is more capable of fighting off disease and recuperating from bouts of illness. We have long been told to do the following: 1) Eat a healthy diet. Cut down on fats and salt. Eat foods that are rich in vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that work together to fight disease. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Eat at least five servings of a variety of fruits and vegetables each day. Whole grains and beans should be included as part of a healthy menu. Meat should be eaten sparingly. 2) Achieve and maintain a healthy weight for you. 3) Regular exercise - at least 30 minutes of moderate activity on most days of the week - can help you reach and maintain a healthy weight. 4) Control your blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar. Regular checkups with your doctor help in discovering and solving problems. 5) If you smoke, stop. "Smoking is linked to at least 15 types of cancer and accounts for around a third of all cancer deaths" (Mary Stewart, M.D.). 6) Protect yourself and your children from the sun. Apply sunscreen liberally, wear protective clothing, and check yourself often for problems. Some sun is necessary for good health, but too much sun damages the skin and causes skin cancer. 7) Get the right amount of sleep by having a regular bedtime. 8) Drink enough water. Some health problems come in spite of all we can do to prevent them - but we don't have to invite diseases into our bodies. Individuals who practice good health habits bring strength to themselves and to their families.